Magic Johnson announces he is HIV-positive
On November 7, 1991, basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson stuns the world by announcing his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the time, many Americans viewed AIDS as solely a gay white man’s disease. Johnson, who is Black and identifies as heterosexual, was one of the first sports stars to go public about his HIV-positive status.
Revered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Johnson spent his entire 13-season NBA career with the Lakers, helping them to win five championships in the 1980s. In 1981, he signed a 25-year deal with the Lakers for $25 million, one of the NBA’s first over-the-top contracts.