February 16, 2012
ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment announced the debut of the documentary The Announcement, which will take viewers back to Nov. 7, 1991, the day that basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson disclosed to the world that he is HIV positive. The documentary, directed by Nelson George (HBO's Life Support), will first air Sunday, March 11, at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
View the trailer:
The Announcement, which is narrated by Johnson himself, includes interviews from many people in Johnson's life, including comedian Chris Rock, former basketball player Larry Bird, and Johnson's wife Cookie and son Andre. Here are some highlights:
Magic on telling his wife Cookie he was HIV-positive:
"I played against the best in basketball: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird ... shoot I thought that was going to be the most difficult thing to do. Those things were nothing. The most difficult thing in my life was driving from the doctor's office to tell my wife Cookie, I had HIV."
Magic on how he felt during the press conference:
"Was I scared? No question about it I was scared. I wasn't scared to announce it; I wasn't scared of the media. What I was scared of is ... would I see them again?"
Larry Bird on his reaction to the news:
"I always want to play. I always want to get to the arena, get my uniform on and get out there, but I didn't want to that day. I wanted no part of that game that night."
Magic on Cookie who forced him to live when he was ready to give up on life:
"I wasn't Magic. I was just this guy who was so devastated that he gave up on life. Cookie had to talk to me, 'Look, you always had plans to do more than just basketball, now is your time to do those things.'"
Magic on AIDS activist Elizabeth Glaser:
"She told me that I was going to be fine. She was the first one who said, 'You know you're going to be fine. You know all the drugs that are coming down the pipeline you're going to take advantage of that and you are going to be able to live for a long time.' I tell you that is when I felt that I had a chance to be there and live for a long time and then she said to me, 'The only thing I want from you is to be the face of this disease because they need the disease to have a face.'"
Magic on the reaction of some friends:
"I would call people, 'Let's work out.' They always had something to do. 'Oh no, I can't right now because I've got to get ready for the game or whatever.' Can you imagine that? I played one-on-one my whole life and now I'm looking for someone to play one-on-one with."
Magic on Pat Riley, who worked him out at Madison Square Garden, when others had shunned him:
"That was the kick in the butt in a sense that I needed. It helped me to understand that there were better days ahead. He actually changed my life that day."
Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Kellee on Twitter: @kelleent.