One man’s diagnosis changed the world forever.
On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive, and retired from the NBA, at the age of 32.
It was a titanic loss for a man who for his whole life felt he was born to play basketball, and a titanic loss for basketball itself. But as I said on Monday regarding Hurricane Sandy, loss is inevitable; what’s important is not to lose the lessons.
Rather than running from his adversity, Magic stared it down and did just that. Determined to maintain his health, he immediately began comprehensive medicinal, nutrition, and exercise regimens. And dove into cultivating his interests off the court (business, public awareness, media, entertainment, etc.).
Magic never wasted a day asking “Why me?”
Now, more than two decades later, one of our greatest competitors is alive, well and prospering in multiple areas.
And thanks to his unfathomable courage and inspiring efforts, millions suffering under the weight of a once-unconquerable disease have also stared down their struggles - and lived not just to fight another day, but to thrive in life.
Ask anyone who remembers November 7th, 1991, and they’ll tell you it was one of the darkest days in modern sports history. But today, it’s become something entirely different: a symbol of hope rising from turmoil, of a new life beginning as another one ended.
Magic left the court, but he never stopped running the point:
No matter how many defenders lie between you and the hoop, you must never stop driving and creating.
Next time you feel you’re facing insurmountable odds, think: What Would Magic Do?