Magic Johnson: “If I Knew What I Know Today…I Probably Wouldn’t Have Retired”

At that time, it was the right decision. If I knew what I knew today, that I could still play basketball and do my thing, I probably wouldn’t have retired in the first place. There were so many unknowns about the disease, about my immune system, I didn’t have a choice at the time. If only I knew what I know today.
But I’m a guy that doesn’t have regrets. I don’t look back. I’m happy, because I wanted to be here a long time. We made the right call at that time.”

HIV+ basketball legend Magic Johnson discusses his decision to leave the sport, at a reception on Monday for the 20th anniversary of his retirement in 1991.

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  • ewe

    He threw around a basketball. Let’s keep this triviality in perspective please.

  • Joe

    @ewe He threw around a basketball? Really? Lets go see you try and play professional basketball. It’s not easy and the man made a damn good career out of it. It’s actually an incredibly fast moving and athletic sport… you absolutely cannot be out of shape for it like you can with baseball or golf. The man has now spent a great deal of his life getting the message out about HIV/AIDS so how bout you STFU and pay some respect.

  • fredo777

    @Joe: Church! That means I agree, for the uninitiated.

  • ewe

    @Joe: I see no reason to respect this blind infatuation with a ball. You can stfu and hang out with the other mindless spectator drones. I am not one of them.

  • ewe

    @Joe: I got some more news for you. Some of us were already fucking exhausted with AIDS deaths long before your basketball player announced he was HIV positive. Go play someone else on this topic. FOOL. He is one of the fortuante ones. He always was. And now he wants to belittle it all by talking about fucking basketball. I don’t give a shit about the possibility of him throwing a basketball a bit longer. It means nothing. NOTHING.

  • rick

    @ewe: i’m sure that your friends that were lost to this awful disease had lives that were meaningful.. they were living out what they wanted to, and faced this disease until they couldn’t any longer. you’re right, magic is one of the lucky ones.. and he was living out his dream.. playing basketball. no one is belittling the lives of those you lost, of those can no longer do what they could .. why harp on this one guy who also just wanted to live his whose dream affected many with a passion for sport. man, everyone is just trying to get by.

  • Joe

    @ewe I just don’t understand the blatant “well I dont care about basketball so screw him” attitude. SO what if he was fortunate? That doesn’t make him any less worthy of anything.

    Just because your not into the man’s career doesn’t make it any better for you to just trash the man based on what he chose to do for a feeling. And lets be real… he got VERY lucky. Who knows where he would if it weren’t for basketball. Sure, I don’t think they should be paid as much as they do or get as much publicity… but there is a fan base for the sport and thats where the money comes from. As soon as your doing something that millions are watching and getting excited about than you can get the attention, money, and privelages that he gets. I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just the way it is.

    I just don’t understand the bitterness. My longtime boyfriend is HIV+, doesn’t give a shit about basketball and still wouldn’t be so disrepectful to someone who dedicated a great deal of his life for a cause. He isn’t belittling HIV/AIDS by taking about basketball. It was the mans life before his diagnosis and it is now no longer.

  • Henry

    @rick: Charles Rozier doesn’t have any gay friends, Rick. The closest thing he’s ever had to a gay friend is an mtf transsexual – and in his own words, he “really picked at her wounds.”

  • Mike in Asheville


  • Matt

    @Wendy’s cum: God must be pretty incompetent then because now AIDS kills few gays and a ton of African heterosexuals.

  • Hephaestion

    Believing that God tries to wipe out his own creations with disease is so stupid that it defies comprehension.

    I guess God was trying to wipe out all those straight Baptists and Pentecostals that got wiped out by Hurricane Katrina? You may have noticed that the one place in Louisiana/Mississippi that was spared devastation by Katrina was the gayest neighborhood in New Orleans.

    You really have to work hard at being that stupid, Wendy’s cum.

  • jason

    HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Magic Johnson proves it.

  • ewe

    @rick: ok fine. i never said you or anyone else cannot feel and express your opinion.

  • ewe

    @Joe: I don’t dislike Magic Johnson. I do not know him. I am against all spectator sports. It is mindless and delusional. One is not participating in athletics by sitting on the couch feeding face.

  • ewe

    I don’t see WendyCums comment but whoever it was should be told she is as significant as a horse and buggy trying to fly to the moon. It is disgraceful people like her are still in the dark as much as she is.

  • ewe

    @Henry: I have heard your bs before. I have no idea who the fuck you’re talking about. You are like a broken record. Join Wendycum please. You both would make a nice couple in some Walmart lane. Whatever. lol

  • Phil

    “He threw around a basketball. Let’s keep this triviality in perspective please.”

    I support this comment in it’s entirety. You know what else is hard? Riding a unicycle while being chased by birds. You know what else makes a lot of money? Slave labor. You know what’s challenging and makes a lot of money? Ponzi schemes. Being challenging and being financially rewarding does not a legitimate endeavor make. Professional sports players are over paid clowns and coddled gladiators. Take your pick of the more offensive descriptor.

    The gist of this story? Over paid basketball player wishes he had continued to be overpaid while suffering from HIV which he survived through because he had lots of money (from being overpaid). At worst, this is a story that says if you’re wealthy enough you don’t have to suffer the consequences of your actions. At best, this story is about how far we’ve come to understand HIV since Johnson contracted it. (It’s actually a pretty good story at best.)

  • Henry

    @ewe: Ah, there are those multiple comments once again, Charles Rozier, written within minutes of each other. That’s why they say that psychopaths are impulsive.

  • Riker

    @jason: Of course one case doesn’t “prove” anything. There are drugs that can slow or stop the progression of the disease. He was lucky in that he has lived with HIV for 20 years while taking medication, which has successfully prevented it from progressing into AIDS. Lots of people aren’t so lucky, and get drug-resistant strains.

  • bobito

    The fact remains: his public announcement of his HIV infection and subsequent retirement had an effect on the mainstream mentality in the US: suddenly, it was not just homos and drug addicts who were endangered by the epidemic they were only too glad to allow to spread – people they gave a damn about could get it too! If he wasn’t the first straight ‘celebrity’ to publicly state he was HIV-infected at a time when the stigma of AIDS was enormous, he certainly was the one who made major national impact with his announcement.

    Had he continued to put his body under the immense physical strain of a pro athletic career, who is to say his immune system would have held up against that? But regardless of how you feel about somebody who got paid a ridiculous amount of money to do something he really enjoyed doing and had to give it up for reasons of health, he showed a hell of a lot of courage in being upfront about it and devoting his time and energy to informing others about HIV.

  • kawneekwa

    If you look at da Lakers today they done sullied the name. I no dat much! They done taken it down to a level of no respect. Oh Lordy no. Sorry Magic but you is irrelvant now too becuz a dem. Who care about da NBA? I no I don’t. No suh!

  • Professor Locs

    At the time, I believe Magic Johnson was the first well known major athlete that contacted HIV. There was so much fear and unknowns of HIV at the time. I think he handled it with dignity, took responsibility and did what he had to do. I respect him for that choice.

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