…this was going to be a very special day for me – it was my twelfth birthday. Mom & Dad had arranged for a limosine to take me, my best friend Cam and Tony (may he rest in peace) to Balboa Island for a long night of Arcade Street Fighter and pizza…what more could a twelve yr old boy ask for?
On the bus ride home from school there were rumors that “something was wrong with Magic…he was like; sick or something.”
By the time I got home, Mom was glued to the TV…and the words that still ring in my ear are from the mouth of my all-time favorite athlete, “I tested HIV positive….I am retiring from the NBA.”
What did we know about HIV in 1991? What did a 12 yr old kid know? What did the drooling masses and media sharks know? That’s up for debate. I can only vouch for my reaction: [Chris-your favorite player’s career is over…he is dying and there is nothing YOU or ANYONE ELSE can do about it. Viruses; like the common cold are composed of self-replicating ribose-nucleic acid and scientists can only hope to treat it but cures are beyond present medical technology. HIV can “blossom” into something far worse known as Autoimmune Deficiency Disorder…which would lower Magic’s t-cell count and render his ability to fight sickness and infection moot – a sore throat could KILL HIM. HIV spreads via blood and/or semen…Magic probably got it from all the “serious ass” he gets] —- so I cried.
And cried. And cried.
Then the limo showed up with my buds…we went to Balboa. I whipped the hell out of them and everyone else using what’s known to gamers as cheese. By having Blanka use a jumping attack combined w/ a strong kick or overhead swipe….block or no block, by repeatedly tapping any punch button Blanka electrifies and once the opponent is trapped in the corner he can’t escape. I won every match and only spent a total of $0.50…the extra 25 cents to get back in the game after we had pizza….
….but it was a very somber night. All the cheese and limosines and Balboa Island’s in the world could not shake the “fact” that my hero was going to die – perhaps quite soon. I cried several more times that night and over subsequent weeks following.
Mom bought a very nice book that Magic Johnson wrote shortly after entitled “What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS,” Copyright 1992, Times Books. ISBN# 8129-2063-5. A photo of my 1st edition can be found here.
So….Don! Buddy! Thanks again for being “THAT GUY”!!!! Thx for reinforcing negative Jewish stereotypes…cuz we love that, bro! You fucking spineless heartless hypocritical douchebag….
MJ does NOT HAVE AIDS that is a LIE you fuck!
DON! In what way is MJ a bad example for kids? His miraculous ability to fight, compete, survive…stay healthy? The $15 million he raised for HIV/AIDS education, prevention and research? The massive amounts of time and cash he donates to inner-city kids on a regular basis? The book he wrote just months after his announcement that helped me not only stop crying, but gave me the strength and knowledge to not only avoid AIDS despite my high risk behavior…but the courage to get tested regularly….INCLUDING LAST FRIDAY????
Before I really shoot my mouth off? I’ll end by quoting MJ once more…. “I will pray for him.”
stay tuned for pt 2 – “Lofts” coming soon and thx for your patronage and support. One Love -Tapper7