In November of 1991, L.A. Lakers star player Magic Johnson announced to the world that he had been diagnosed with HIV. It came as a shock not only to basketball fans, but to fans of the man himself. He had been a hero to many for so long that the news was not only difficult to digest, it was devastating.
“We had somebody bigger than basketball,” Arsenio Hall said. “You could like the game, but love this person.”
Piecing together archival footage with new interviews with Johnson, his family, and his teammates, filmmaker Nelson George created a documentary called “The Announcement”, which aired last Sunday on ESPN. The film takes a look at how Johnson and the people around him handled the news, as well as what he did with it; after the diagnosis, he struggled for a while to find his place and eventually settled on what he feels is his greatest accomplishment: raising awareness of the disease and becoming actively involved in fundraisers for new treatments.
“I was a guy that could shoulder HIV and AIDS,” Johnson said in the film. “A lot of guys couldn’t have gone public, and then get involved in the HIV and AIDS fight the way that I have.”
Johnson recently tweeted about the documentary:
@NBA Entertainment for everything they put into “The Announcement”Thank you to
@ESPN_Films for educating the world on HIV through “The Announcement”Thank you