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Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7, 1991

I was doing chores in the kitchen, emptying and loading the dishwasher, getting ready to head out to our high school’s homecoming football game. The local news was on in the living room. I heard Channel 6 news anchor Lynn Ganser announce, “Tragic news.” Immediately assuming someone famous had died, I stopped what I was doing, entered the living room and focused my attention on the news.

The next thing I heard triggered the type of physical reaction that accompanies shock. “Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson…,”

Magic Johnson died?

“Announced that he is retiring from basketball…,”

WHEW! Wait, that’s surprising, not tragic.

“…after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”


On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced to the world that he tested positive for HIV. I am 41 years old. I was not alive for the Kennedy assassination. I was not alive when Pearl Harbor was attacked. In my lifetime, there have been three “I’ll never forget where I was when I heard,” tragedies – the Challenger explosion, 9/11, and Magic Johnson announcing he was HIV positive.

That Magic Johnson is alive and well 25 years later makes this day in history remarkable. That HIV/AIDS is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when Magic Johnson is mentioned is remarkable. That HIV is no longer a death sentence with the same Grim Reaper connotation it had 25 years ago is remarkable.

We would never know any of this had Magic not had the courage to step up and share his illness with the world and do more for awareness of this devastating disease in minutes than all of the death and carnage in the prior 10 years in which the medical world was aware of and attempted to spread awareness of AIDS.


  1. Whoo hoo!! You're back!!
    PS we are moving to Boston, Mass. :)

  2. Whaaaaat? I don't need to tell you that Boston is a little different from Shreveport. Is it a military assignment?