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Magic Johnson opens up about HIV in film

Danielle Adams

Magic Johnson

The Announcement premiered on Sunday

Magic Johnson told the world that he was HIV positive over 20 years ago. Sunday night, ESPN debuted The Announcement a look back at that day and the basketball star’s life since.

At the time of Magic Johnson’s announcement, AIDS was still perceived as a targeting only the gay community. Despite all the misconstruction of the virus, Magic Johnson was determined to fight his battle publicly. While Johnson and his wife have often spoken publicly on the subject of HIV, they have not commented much on their own personal situation – until now.

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

“It’s not so much what people said about him, it’s how he felt and what people did to him,” Nelson 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 Announcement appeals to everyone, not just sportsfans. The film does display Johnson’s basketball skills, but it also deals with the personal aspects of his life.
Magic Johnson’s  wife, Cookie, is clearly the heroine of the story. Magic acknowledges that, “If she had left, I probably would have died.”

George said Johnson is hoping to further shine a spotlight on HIV and AIDS. “One of the focuses for him is young people. 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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