Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson turned 60 on Wednesday, possibly a day he thought he would never see when he learned that he had human immunodeficiency virus at the age of 32.
On November 7, 1991, Johnson held a news conference to announce that he was retiring from the NBA and that he was HIV-positive. At the time, a lot about HIV was still unknown to most of the world. Blood tests to detect the virus had been developed only six years earlier, and researchers still did not know where it originated.
“I just want to make clear, first of all, that I do not have the AIDS disease,” Johnson said. “My wife is fine. She’s negative, so there’s no problem with her.
“I plan on going on, living for a long time.
“I will now become a spokesman for the HIV virus, because I want young people to realize that they can practice safe sex. Sometimes you’re a little naive about it, and you think it can never happen to you. You only thought it could happen to other people and so on and on. It has happened, but I’m going to deal with it. And my life will go on.”
Life did go on, and if his social media is any indication, he is a very happy man. Johnson recently took a five-week vacation with family and friends, renting the ultra-luxury yacht Aquila, which costs about $1 million a week.
For his birthday, Johnson also posted several of his personal top-60 lists on Twitter, including films, TV shows, places to travel and athletes-turned-entrepreneurs.
Johnson is one of the most successful entrepreneurs to have played professional sports. He is a part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Football Club. He held a minor stake in the Los Angeles Lakers and even briefly served as the team’s president of basketball operations.