Magic Johnson and 'The Announcement'
March 11th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Magic Johnson and 'The Announcement'

Basketball legend Magic Johnson has been quite public about being HIV positive, but he's never spoken publicly about what he endured behind the scenes in revealing that status.

Until now.

"The Announcement" examines that day more than 20 years ago when the sports star shocked the world with his revelation that he had contracted the virus which causes AIDS.

The ESPN documentary is set to air Sunday at 9 p.m., and its director Nelson George said Johnson had been approached over the years to tell his story, but had been reluctant.

"While he does a lot of speaking about this - and has done so persistently - to really sit down and do a lengthy interview about it and have his wife talk about it, that's something they've avoided," George said. "We are very fortunate and quite honored that they agreed to do it at this time."

George and the documentary's producer, Rudy Crew, spoke with CNN at the SXSW festival about the project, which they said reveals for the first time Johnson's private struggles in the face of a very public diagnosis.

"It's an event that everybody shared in, but clearly this was one that was dealt with by him and his family," Crew said. "It was kind of like how Magic was on the court. He was a showman for everybody, but this announcement clearly was different."

The film is narrated by Johnson, which director George said offers viewers "the point of view [of] him looking out at the world."

"It's not so much what people said about him, it's how he felt and what people did to him," George said. "Be it people dis-inviting him to their restaurant or dealing with how [the drug] AZT affected his body. It's an inside-out view as opposed to the things you might have heard discussed on talk radio."

The project marks a continued delving into the world of docs for George, whose examination of the African American arts movement in Brooklyn in the '80s and '90s, "Brooklyn Boheme," is set to be offered on iTunes on March 13.

George said Johnson is hoping to further shine a spotlight on HIV and AIDS.

"One of the focuses for him is young people," George said. "The AIDS infection rate for young people, especially among black people, is really bad. He also talks a lot about the idea of drug research. I think there are a couple of agendas for him that are very very powerful."


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    May 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. money

    Johsnon didn't Aids but HIV. He ball but quit HIV cause retire. In 20 years HIV kills not him. But no AIDS lives HIV doesn't kill. Money saved AIDS from him. He very lucky alive to be. Wife is not HIV neither cheating. Regardless cant 20 years.

    March 22, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mehgann

    Maybe having someone like Johnson telling his story will teach some of you a lesson is respect and kindness towards your fellow man. But, somehow I doubt it.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SomeDude

    LOL All I saw was a headline link "Magic Johnson and the Announcement"... for some reason, I thought he was gonna come out of retirement and back onto the paint.

    March 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. noah

    just an announcement

    March 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hkpolo

    I think that Magic was treated with fetal stem cells..the drug coctail for HIV is more devastating than the disease

    March 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jack Skell

    "Scientists discover the cure for AIDS is $180,000 of ground-up cash injected into the bloodstream." From South Park

    March 13, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. the judge

    who gives a crap,,,,i am late on my rent,,,,,again,,,,whhaaaazzzzuuuupppppp

    March 13, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. KathyGriffin

    I love da chocolate cake monster...

    March 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lee powell

    TC For your info: On 7 November 1991, two months after getting married and still very much at the top of his game, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for HIV and would immediately retire from basketball.

    He was married and I'm sure engaged when he was cheating.

    March 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      Actually, the blood test that found the HIV had to do with his recently getting married. I believe it was a insurance issue. He was likely HIV positive long before that and just never knew. I am no fan of his, but the timeline does not point to any form of infidelity. I think he was just sucking a lot of d ick before he met his wife and got married.

      March 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Mark

    He may assume that peope stopped inviting him to restaurants because he was HIV Pos. It could also have been that people didn't respect his lifestyle of screwing anything he could hold down. And for the record, this is not news.

    March 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  17. What

    My take is Magic got it from messing around with DownLow Ballers. He did NOT get AZT. He got a BIG favor from a higer up who he tried to pay bay that favor in 2008... He got EXCLUSIVE Drug access for it's time. That is why he still lives for 20 years. AZT was a killer and Magic NEVER showed ANY signs he had lost weight or anything for 20 years. Give me a break. I aint hating on him.. Just that the special treatment he got could have saved a lot of good folks too.

    March 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  18. tcaros

    Big Choc has never come clean on how he got it.
    -
    Some folks believe he's a little to touchy feely with Isaih Thomas.. and maybe he had some brothers on the down lo that gave it to him with choco highway action.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frida

      You are a nitwit

      March 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcaros

      If this isn't some down lo evidence I don't know what is:

      Hall of Fame players Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson famously kissed each other's cheek moments before tip-off of Game 1 of the 1988 NBA Finals.

      Today, the relationship clearly isn't anywhere near as close.

      In the book, Johnson says, among other things, that he played a role in keeping Thomas off the 1992 U.S. Olympic team.

      "I'm just disappointed and hurt," Thomas told The Associated Press on Thursday night before a promotional event for his men's basketball team at FIU. "I never thought it was him who kept me off the Olympic team. That hurt."

      March 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcaros

      Majic look like one of those chocolate cakes you get at the diner where the frosting is real thick and sweaty looking chocolate.

      March 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. curt

    Either HIV was engineered by humans or aliens... They ever figure out what caused that red rain with blood cells in that other country?

    March 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • curtow

      The virus is just so complex to me, it's like it had to be engineered...... I saw a video on youtube that details what goes on....... Some video some people that study that stuff look at.

      March 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  20. SMP76

    Magic was diagnosed over 20 years ago, and reading these comments is just scary. Even now, most of the people commenting seem not to understand this disease at all. #1 Magic does not have AIDS, he is HIV positive which can develop into AIDS. #2 AIDS does not the killer, AIDS weakens the immune system and typically AIDS patients die from cancer or phnemonia. The whole comment that he got what he deserved because he cheated on his wife. Another reader who does not have a clue. As stated he did not cheat on his wife, this happened prior to them being a couple, and even if he did cheat on her, saying that he penalty should be death by a horrible disease such as HIV and/or AIDS is just a horrible comment to make. Apparenlty that reader is secretly Jesus Christ himself and walks on water....

    March 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  21. K.Rove

    I read the headline and thought Magic was announcing he was going to play with the Heat

    March 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • andy

      My god...even at his age...even with HIV...that team would demolish everything it came across.

      March 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Curt

    Gotta wonder how Eazy-E died so fast from aids.... I think it's a conspiracy and I'm not the only one.

    March 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • curt

      Macaroni and cheese and hot sauce time.

      March 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • read

      Easy E was a rapper not an athlete. Therefore, he probably did not get regular physicals as Magic did. Magic probably found out within months of contracting it, while easy probably went years without treatment or being diagnosed. This is why Easy died so fast. Ps. Easy did not have the finanical resources that Magic did either.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ugh

      Because Easy-E died of AIDS, Magic has HIV...

      March 13, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • money

      It's because he was black..

      March 22, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  23. Indu

    Can't be nice and respectful? Don't comment. No matter what he did to get the disease, remember that none of us are prefect.

    March 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Erik

    "All you need to beat Aids is a highly concentrated dose of a LOT of cash!" ;)

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=southpark%20cartman%20aids&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CC4QtwIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.southparkstudios.com%2Ffull-episodes%2Fs12e01-tonsil-trouble&ei=BFReT-r-M6Hs2QX7tZTUDg&usg=AFQjCNHxPuLLfggjHDcUdKw0FGURTsWwmw

    March 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Brian Griffin

    Let's see what's in the news today...says here "Magic Johnson is down to one AID"

    March 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Two Eared Joe

    Test

    March 12, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  27. white woman

    Cindy crawford? No I look alots better than her.

    March 12, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  28. @white woman

    Thank you Cindy Crawford!

    March 12, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  29. white woman

    And u look like sh-t. Jellybean, a short round fat leave grit in teeth pos.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  30. jellybean

    daaayuuum! gawd is he ugly.

    March 12, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  31. AIDS

    I was diagnosed with it when george w bush was in office. Its the new aids-Always In Debt Syndrom.

    March 12, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  32. LoJenk

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6wC8EmRoZw&w=640&h=390]

    March 12, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  33. Kerland

    What a story....what a story. Behind every good man is a good woman. God Bless the Johnson Family for sharing their story. God is using him (Magic) to encourage others living with this virus that there is hope if you live the way you are suppose to live. PEOPLE, GET TESTED!!!

    March 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      "God is using him (Magic) to encourage others living with this virus"

      Don't you think he would have been better off if god had not given it to him in the first place?

      March 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      @derp: God did not give Magic the disease. Magic made his own choices for himself and contracted the diseasel as a result of those choices. Completely his own doing. God doesn't infect people or afflict people with diseases. When talking about God and how screwed up our world is, you have to understand one thing; this is a natural world and natural things are going to happen in a natural world and too many people, like you, want to take every chance they can to blame God when it wasn't God that did it. And the answer to your next inevitable question, "Why does God let bad things happen then?" See the above answer. He is all powerful, and He is still in the miracle making business, but every time God ever healed anybody, it was because of their own faith that they were healed. It wasn't because God was awesome or was showing off, it was because that that person knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God could heal them. That's why anytime Jesus healed someone, He always told them that their faith has made them whole.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      @derp: God did not give Magic the disease. Magic made his own choices for himself and contracted the disease as a result of those choices. Completely his own doing. God doesn't infect people or afflict people with diseases. When talking about God and how screwed up our world is, you have to understand one thing; this is a natural world and natural things are going to happen in a natural world and too many people, like you, want to take every chance they can to blame God when it wasn't God that did it. And the answer to your next inevitable question, "Why does God let bad things happen then?" See the above answer. He is all powerful, and He is still in the miracle making business, but every time God ever healed anybody, it was because of their own faith that they were healed. It wasn't because God was awesome or was showing off, it was because that that person knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God could heal them. That's why anytime Jesus healed someone, He always told them that their faith has made them whole.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  34. becki

    Thanks, Jules!

    March 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jules

    SXSW – South by Southwest

    March 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  36. becki

    Can anyone pls tell me what SXSW stands for?

    March 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  37. haja kyle

    Manic Johnson is a great person and has dealt with this situation incredibly. I have a lot of respect for him.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      "Manic" Johnson? Hilarious. Unintentional, but hilarious.

      March 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Panthro

      It's all about the benjamins, he's got it, we don't....Next thing you know, they'll want to make his "announcement" a national holiday....just like MLK .....All he was, was a womanizer and a cheater and he deserved what he got...sounds mean, but it's the truth....according to statistics and life expectancy for AIDS carriers, he should have been dead by now if not close to it. The announcement, my a- – -!!!

      March 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.R.

      @Panthro - actually the life expectancy for those with HIV is much, much higher than it was when he originally made the announcement. HIV is no longer a death sentence but rather a chronic condition and the medication is now one pill once a day with little side effects. You can have HIV and live a normal, long life. I really wish Americans would start READING and doing the research for themselves instead of relying on outdated information or rumors from other uneducated morons.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeah right

      Great guy, he got infected cheating on his wife. He doesn't talk about that part.

      March 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      He didn't catch HIV cheating on his wife....they were not even married....he found out a few months after they got married and they were not together for 5 years after she broke off their engagment the first time.

      March 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • joesense

      manic johnson? lmfao....

      March 13, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  38. the mack goldie

    *squats and takes a huge steamy stinky dump on the blog article*

    March 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Triumph

    Thank you CNN for telling us about something that happened 20 years ago. Your story is very good....
    FOR ME TO POOP ON!

    March 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Uh, Triumph – thank you – thank you for making my day! I miss you on Conan. :-(

      March 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frida

      This "something" that happened 20 yrs ago is still considered a stigma for many and in most parts of this world, HIV/AIDS is a death sentence. That this courageous man would step forward to share his story about living with such a dreaded disease is a true testament to his character. BTW...bet you can't go left!

      March 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I bet that if you had HIV, you would not tell anyone, especially to the world, like Magic did, and you would probably give it to others...

      March 13, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      you're an idiot

      March 13, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |

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