This week marks the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson‘s announcement to the press and his fans that he was HIV positive. For many youth growing up in Los Angeles (I was 7 at the time), it was the first time we had even heard of HIV/AIDS. In the early 90s, HIV was still believed to be a “gay disease,” and some people even believed that it was communicable via touching. The news that a Laker legend and LA icon was indeed HIV positive was a sobering moment because not only was his admission a selfless act, it also reminded us that a larger-than-life figure was human.
Magic Johnson’s announcement started an on-going conversation about HIV/AIDS in our communities and schools, and he used his notoriety to raise awareness about the disease. 20 years later and without a cure in sight, we are still reminded of Magic’s legacy and that pivotal moment in time.