The Magic of the NBA

Sunday, June 13, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

As i sit here watching the NBA finals re-cap on ESPN/ABC, I keep thinking the same think, "remember when Magic Johnson had HIV?"

And I know that sounds horrible, but i remember vividly being a little 13-yr-old mensch in Hebrew school and hearing that Magic was HIV+.  Back then, in 1991, HIV was a death sentence.  We were grief stricken as somehow we felt that if Magic could get it, anyone could.  He was the HIV positive "everyman." Maybe this wasn't a "gay disease."  A few years later there was a bit of a stir about whether or not Magic should play in an All-Star game.  People on TV talked about the "chance of infection" and whatnot.  But it was all very serious and scary.

Now he's laughing it up nightly as an announcer on T.V. (he's pretty solid in that profession, for the record).  It doesn't seem as if there are any ill effects on his health as a result of the virus.  And to me, this is what that tells us:  It says that whether or not you have $money$ is much more predictive of whether or not you die from AIDS than your race or sexual orientation.  And while that's great for Magic, and it's great that we have the health care to prevent HIV from being the death sentence it was 20 years ago, it highlights how we screw the poor both in this country and abroad. 

People talk about the greatness of "humanity."  But it seems decidedly inhumane to develop drugs to defeat deadly illness, and to then ration those discoveries to those who can pay in order to maximize financial profit over human lives. 

I'm very happy that Magic is still with us, I just wish he still represented the everyman.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. I've had this discussion many times. It's pretty insane.