Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Press Statement Announcing HIV Infection and NBA Retirement

delivered 7 November 1991, The Forum, Inglewood, California


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

First of all let me say good after...good late afternoon.

Because of the -- the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers.


I just want to make clear, first of all, that I do not have the AIDS disease -- 'cause I know a lot of you are -- want to know that -- but the HIV virus.

My wife is fine. She's negative, so there's no problem with her.

I plan on going on, living for a long time, bugging you guys, like I've [sic] always have. So, you'll see me around. I plan on being with the Lakers and the league -- Hopefully, David [Stern] will have me for awhile -- and going on with my life.

And I guess now I get to enjoy some of the other sides of living...that because of the season, the long practices and so on. I just want to say that I'm going to miss playing. And I will now become a spokesman for the HIV virus because I want people -- young people to realize that they can practice safe sex. And you know sometimes you're a little naive about it and you think it could never happen to you. You only thought it could happen to, you know, other people and so on and all. And it has happened, but I'm going to deal with it and my life will go on. And I will be here, enjoying the Laker games, and all the other NBA games around the country. So, life is going to go on for me, and I'm going to be a happy man.

Now, medical questions that you have, you have to direct them to Dr. [Michael] Mellman and he can answer all those questions for you. Anything concerning the Lakers and so on, we have Jerry West here, I'm sure. Of course the league -- our commissioner who I want to thank. I want to thank everybody up here, as well as my teammates, because they've been behind me all the way. I want to thank Kareem [Abdul Jabbar] for coming out, him and "Coop" [Michael Cooper] who -- who stood side by side and won a lot of battles. Larry Drew, another good friend of mine who I played with.

But the Commissioner, David Stern, has been great in supporting me. And I will go on and hopefully work with the league and help in any way that I can. I want to thank also Jerry West for all he's done. Dr. Kerr [phonetic]. Dr. Mellman -- he will tell you who my other doctors are that have helped me through this -- as well as, like I said, my father, in a sense, Dr. Jerry Buss, for just drafting me and me being here.

Now, of course, I will miss the battles and the wars, and I will miss you guys [the reporters]. But life goes on.

Now, any other questions medical-wise, you can ask, like I said, Dr. Mellman; anything with the Lakers, Jerry West -- or anything with the league. I'll take a few questions about myself and my plans.

[Audio Q&A not transcribed]

Page Updated: 8/17/22

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