Magic Johnson

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Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Magic is a good man and a role model. He is a great basketball player. He thinks about other people more than himself. He is a survivor because he’s had AIDS for a long time and he is still surviving with it. Magic is also a hero. He talked to younger children about his problem with AIDS and told them to try not to get it.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson is famous for his amazing passing skills in basketball and his all-around great personality. At 6 feet, 9 inches, he was the tallest point guard in the league’s history. He is also one of the most admired basketball players of all time.

Johnson was so successful that he became really famous. He played on the Los Angeles Lakers and everywhere they went there were fans waiting for his autograph. Women found Johnson attractive and he was never at a loss for a female companion. In 1991, Johnson married his longtime girlfriend, Cookie. Only weeks later he found out he was HIV positive. So Johnson did one of the hardest things he says he has ever done—he told Cookie. He then decided that he wanted to tell the world. “There was never any question that I would go public,” he said. “I’ve always lived straight up and faced up to whatever happens.” That year Johnson told the world and retired from basketball. He started to speak out about HIV/AIDS and educate youth about the disease. He created the Magic Johnson Foundation so he could raise money to fund AIDS research, care and education. Johnson’s popularity resulted in his being voted as a starter in the 1992 All-Star Game and, later, chosen for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.

Since being diagnosed, Johnson has shown the world that being HIV positive is not a reason to stop living. He has appeared on lots of different television programs, such as Sixty Minutes, Today, Late Night with David Letterman, Entertainment Tonight, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and The Tonight Show, and has been the cover story for magazines such as Black Enterprise, People, GQ, Entrepreneur, TV Guide and Ebony. He has also been featured in publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, In-Style, VIBE and Newsweek. About living with HIV, Johnson says, “When your back is to the wall, I think you just have to come out swinging. And I’m swinging…I’m going to go on, going to be there, going to have fun.”

Hospital for Sick Children University of Toronto Positive Youth Outreach CATIE