1991: Magic Johnson Announces He Is HIV Positive

Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers after testing positive for HIV. Johnson was in his early 30s and playing up to his nickname; he was a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 12-time All-Star team member.

After announcing his retirement, he came back to the game and was voted Most Valuable Player of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game and played for the United States as a member of the Olympic Dream Team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He then returned to the Lakers for the 1993 to 1994 season as head coach and made a brief comeback as a Lakers player in the 1995 to 1996 season.

At the time, many people around the world viewed AIDS as a disease contracted by gay white men. Johnson, who is African American and heterosexual, was one of the first sports stars to go public about his HIV-positive status.