“Thinking It Was a Death Sentence, Cause..”: Emotional Magic Johnson Opened Up About His HIV Diagnosis

Published 12/04/2022, 12:30 PM EST

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The sports world and the NBA world, in particular, were hit with a piece of shocking news over 30 years ago. The face of the showtime Los Angeles Lakers and one of the greatest NBA players, Magic Johnson revealed that he had HIV. During that time, it was considered a death sentence. During an interview earlier this year, Johnson revealed what went through him when he realized he was infected with the virus. The Lakers icon also reflected on the mental state of his wife, Cookie Johnson, who was pregnant at the time.

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His wife’s pregnancy really stressed out Johnson and his family. Furthermore, the NBA superstar saw his disease as a death sentence like the rest of the world. 

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Magic Johnson on his stressful HIV diagnosis

Magic Johnson was the face of the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA in the 1980s. He shocked the world with a press conference that made headlines around the world. During the conference, he revealed that he has been diagnosed with HIV and that he was retiring from the league.

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Years after this piece of devastating news shocked the world, Johnson revealed what he and his family went through during this tough time. Unlike today, HIV was thought to be a death sentence back then. The thought of death invaded Johnson’s mind as well.

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During an interview a few months ago, he admitted, “What I was going through, thinking it was a death sentence, ’cause I didn’t know no better, so, just all the people that were involved get to tell their side of it, and I think that’s what makes it great.”

Magic Johnson was infected in 1991 and this raised various questions regarding his future. However, thanks to advancements in science and medicine, the former NBA champion survived. Over 30 years later, the NBA Hall of Famer is quite healthy and looks to be in great shape despite all the scares around the virus.

Johnson also addressed the plight of his pregnant wife and soon-to-be-born soon EJ as well. “What Cookie felt and what she was going through, and being pregnant with our son, EJ, at the time,” said Magic.

And EJ, who is about to turn 30, now, he gets to share his side, so, everybody gets to be a part of this and it’s really wonderful,” he added.

Johnson returned in brilliant fashion following a short retirement 

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Magic Johnson’s retirement from the game was short-lived. He returned and joined the 1992 USA National Team playing in the Barcelona Olympics.

The team nicknamed ‘The Dream Team’ consisted of superstars like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird alongside Magic. As expected, they went on to clinch gold and cemented their in Olympic lore. Johnson also returned to the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1995-96 season but retired after one season.

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What is your favorite memory of Magic Johnson? Let us know in the comments down below.

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Written by:

Abhinava Ghosh

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Abhinava is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. Abhinava has been following NBA for the past 6 years and is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry.
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Edited by:

Satagni Sikder

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