On October 16, 1992, Magic Johnson joined the Los Angeles Lakers on the court in an attempt to come back, almost a year after he announced he was diagnosed with HIV.
Johnson’s name was the last one called by the announcer before the game but it did’t stop the crowd from giving him a roaring ovation. He put the Lakers on the board with a two-pointer, and helped the team to a 124-112 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
video source: Lakers basketball network via nonplayerzealot4 on YouTube
Johnson played most of the pre-season games, but since HIV was misunderstood, players like Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz, refused to play with him on the court. The media circus following him lead him to retire. He was said to be relieving the team from the constant scrutiny and let them play.
Johnson came back for 32 games during the 1995-96 season and proved he still had game but his play time was cut short because of the illness.
Johnson was the first pick of the 1979 NBA draft. He participated in 12 consecutive All-Star games and helped the Lakers to five national championship titles. The Lakers retired his number, 32, in 1992 and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame with the class of 2002. His priceless smile lets the world know his positive attitude and bright personality are far from gone.