The sports world is a place that is believed to have far more meaning than just the games themselves. It is full of moments described by fans or commentators as if they were matters of life or death. Moments that are life changing that are filled with emotions and an etched timestamp that are engrained in our life story. But then it passes and soon after, reality sets in. It’s just a game right? Perhaps so, but on some rare occasions there is a moment that transcends the game to become a defining moment for society. One that takes on more not less significance as time passes.
That moment happened 22 years ago in Orlando, Florida during the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Just three months earlier, Magic Johnson, one of basketball's best, most famous, and most beloved players, announced that he was HIV positive and would have to retire from the game that has been a part of his entire life. But on this day, he would have another moment in the proverbial NBA spotlight.
There was no shortage of controversy as some felt his appearance was dangerous, others felt he didn't belong because he'd retired. Magic answered them all with 25 points, 9 assists, and 1 lift of the MVP Award, all racked up in 29 minutes of floor time.
"People with this virus can live on," Johnson said after the game. "That's the message. They can run; they can jump. Second of all, you don't have to worry about me playing. You can't get it from hugging, kissing, elbows, and high fives. Life doesn't stop because something happens to you."
An inspiring message that lives on today as the game played over two decades ago still carries a valuable meaning. This was just as necessary as it was entertaining.