Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Like Magic!

November 7, 1991: The Announcement

It's been 20 years since Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced to the world that he would have to retire from the Lakers due to the fact that he had contracted the HIV Virus.  It was November 7, 1991 and as a 9 year old boy during that time I felt such sadness for a player that I looked up to so much.  He was the best player on the most exciting team in basketball.  The man ran an offense called "Showtime" I mean how cool is that, but his announcement caught me completely off guard.  The first thing that came to my mind is that  "Magic was going to get very sick, skinny & die."  I went on to play my first year of little league basketball and what felt like fate, I was drafted by a team called the Lakers.  I picked Magic's number 32 as my uniform and dedicated my season to him.  I then led my team to winning the league championship by defeating a team called the Celtics just like Magic and the Showtime Lakers used to do it.

Magic & wife Cookie
Magic's announcement really hit home to me, because I knew first hand by watching my own uncle fight with the disease and as time went on he only got worst, but Magic Johnson 20 years later defied the odds.  He is living a healthy and productive life.  He is still on TV when that infectious smile and warm personalty.  He is a very successful business man and has provided jobs to the urban community.  Most importantly, Magic Johnson raised awareness on HIV and AIDS.  He proved it just wasn't a "Gay" man's disease, but everyone, no matter race, gender or creed was able to contract HIV and AIDS.  Magic's announcement saved the lives of many and his successful fight has given hope to people living with the virus even to this day.  Magic Johnson is a hero in my eyes, but not for what he did on the court, but for the fact that he proved that with a positive attitude, daily exercise & a strict medication regiment, anyone can life a long and productive life even with such a chronic disease. 

Haz Bey