On November 7, 1991, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced at a press conference that he was HIV-positive. The teary-eyed announcement came as a shock to the entire world and was viewed as a death sentence to many. At the time, very little was known about the immunodeficiency virus and everyone had their beliefs about what would happen to one of the most beloved figures in sports. Johnson would retire from the NBA immediately to
address his new diagnosis. Through consistent, daily medication from doctors, Johnson was able to fight off the disease to the point that it can barely be detected in his blood. He would return for part of the 1995-96 season, but he would retire for good after its conclusion. While Johnson is not a LGBT athlete, his announcement broke a lot of stigma that was placed on the disease. Around the time, very few heterosexual men were being diagnosed with HIV and it was believed to be something that could only be contracted by gay men. Johnson used his platform to debunk these myths, showing that HIV-AIDS is not limited to homosexuals. Over the years, Johnson has worked as an activist, launching the Magic Johnson Foundation to educate people about HIV, as well as safe sex practices.