Magic Johnson did not initially know how he contracted HIV AIDS, but he later revealed that it was from having lots of sexual partners. The Los Angeles Lakers player found out he had contracted the disease in a routine preseason physical examination in 1991.
The same year he found out his status, the NBA legend revealed it to the public in a press conference before announcing his retirement. The sudden news of Magic being diagnosed with HIV got all his fans shocked and led to a series of questions, like how he got the disease and from whom. Read on as we unravel answers to some of the questions asked about Magic Johnson’s HIV AIDS status.
When Did Magic Johnson Get HIV?
The exact date when Magic Johnson contracted HIV is not known. However, according to reports from credible sources, the NBA player got to know about his status during the 1991 preseason physical routine check. His blood sample was taken and screened, and it was discovered that he was HIV positive.
Being that the virus at that time had no control therapy, he was heavily stigmatized. It was believed that his health status caused his early retirement from the NBA. The NBA player decided not to keep his HIV status a secret and had to disclose it at a press conference held on November 7, 1991.
He issued the press release in front of his then two months pregnant wife, Cookie Johnson. Immediately after he disclosed that he was HIV positive, the news spread like wildfire. This was because Magic Johnson, at that time, was one of the most popular NBA players.
His public campaign was inspired by the late actor Elizabeth Glaser, who caught HIV after having a blood transfusion that was infected with the virus. She further encouraged him to be an advocate of hope for those living with HIV/AIDS. Magic Johnson was able to achieve this because of his large fan base as a former professional basketball player.
How Did Magic Johnson Get HIV?
As surprising as the news was to his fans and all NBA lovers, it became important to them to find out how Magic Johnson got the virus. Some people began to speculate on the possible means by which the NBA player got the then-deadly virus.
At that time, HIV AIDS was mostly contacted by people associated with the gay community and was called ‘gay cancer’ during those days. A lot of people speculated that Magic Johnson was a member of the gay community but kept it secret. However, they pointed fingers and suggested that he might have contracted the virus from the practice.
They based their conclusions on the fact that there is only a 0.08% possibility of contracting HIV through vaginal sexual intercourse. The public stressed that there is a higher chance of micro-abrasions during anal sex, which is a higher chance of contracting the virus. However, the ex-NBA player was straight and contracted it through sexual intercourse.
Magic Johnson disclosed how he got HIV in an autobiography published by the Chicago Tribune in 1992. He stated that he had had several unprotected sexual relationships with several women.
The former NBA star stated that in the ’80s, his team was regarded as the sexiest and most glamorous team in NBA. This gave them the opportunity to have over 40 to 50 women waiting at the hotel anytime they finished a game.
He disclosed that in most cases, the women would pretend to come for an autograph. But they make use of the opportunity to invite them over to their room by writing down their room number beside the signature. He admitted to having his own share of the free offers, and that must be how he got the virus.
Who Gave Magic Johnson HIV?
Since the NBA legend disclosed how he contracted the virus, many of his fans have become curious to know who was responsible. But Magic Johnson, to date, cannot say for sure that he knows the exact person who gave him the virus.
He made it clear that he had unprotected sex multiple times with so many young girls in the 80s. So for that reason, he cannot for sure say that he got it from any of the girls.
However, he also stated that after discovering his HIV status, he called some of the girls, and none of them admitted to being HIV positive. This made it even more difficult to have a detailed trace of where he got the virus from.
Did Magic Johnson Play With HIV?
Yes, he continued to play basketball after he contracted HIV. Magic Johnson, after retiring in 1991, immediately announced his HIV status but got back to the game on September 29, 1992. He didn’t stay long in his return to his Los Angeles Lakers team.
Johnson stated that his reasons for finally retiring from the team were because of the reactions he received during his last game. He disclosed this in an interview with ABC’s PrimeTime Live, stating that during an exhibition game with Cleveland Cavaliers in Chapel Hill, he had a cut and was taken off the court for treatment.
Johnson further revealed that the reactions he got from his teammates and others got him to the point of finally retiring from the NBA. He continued that even when he got back to the game after receiving treatment for his cut, he could see the fear on everyone’s faces. These reactions were based on the fact that people were scared of the virus at that time as there was no cure for it.
Despite Johnson’s confirmation of his retirement, fans continued to select him for the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Johnson showed up to the game against opposition from some of his teammates and was subsequently awarded the MVP title. It was also reported that Magic Johnson also returned to his Los Angeles Lakers team during the 1995-1996 season.
Does Magic Johnson Still Have AIDS?
It was not stated whether Magic Johnson’s HIV later transformed into AIDS. However, it was stated that in the years that followed, the NBA legend was fortunate enough to manage the virus before the arrival of its control therapy in 1996. In a report published by LiveScience, it was revealed that Magic Johnson has successfully controlled the disease from migrating into AIDS.
The ex-NBA player disclosed that he was used to experimenting with some of the drugs in 1994, which later became the most reliable control drugs for HIV in 1996. Although he still lives with a positive status for HIV, he obviously found a way of living a normal life. Cookie Johnson and his son EJ all test negative for the virus.