Cover Image for “Everybody was waiting for Magic Johnson to die”: Clyde Drexler had a grim take on the Lakers legend contracting HIV and playing for the Dream Team

“Everybody was waiting for Magic Johnson to die”: Clyde Drexler had a grim take on the Lakers legend contracting HIV and playing for the Dream Team

Samir Mehdi
|Thu Mar 10 2022


Clyde Drexler very shockingly said that ‘everybody’ was waiting for Magic Johnson to die after news broke of him contracting HIV. 

Magic Johnson accomplished more than what most NBA players could only dream of in the 12 years he spent in the league. He brought 5 championships to the Los Angeles Lakers, won three regular season MVPs and racked up countless All-NBA and All-Star selections. 

Many forget that Magic led an aging Lakers squad to the 1991 NBA Finals and while he wasn’t his mid-80s self by any means, he was more than capable of being a star on a title contending roster. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls would go on to gentleman sweep them and November of that same year saw Magic announce that he had contracted HIV.

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While this was quite the shock given his monumental status as a North American sporting icon, his lifestyle led him down this path and admittedly so.  

Several big names like Freddie Mercury and Eazy E succumbed to the disease and it was assumed, due to there being no outright cure for AIDs, that the same would happen to Magic Johnson. 

Clyde Drexler doesn’t mince his words regarding Magic Johnson contracting HIV. 

In a book that came out in 2012, 20 years after the Dream Team demolished their competition in Barcelona, Clyde Drexler had quite a bit to say about his teammate, Magic Johnson.

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Some of his comments were him saying, “He couldn’t play much by that time. He couldn’t guard his shadow. But you have to understand what was going on then. Everybody kept waiting for Magic to die. Every time he’d run up the court everybody would feel sorry for the guy, and he’d get all the benefit of the doubt.” 

Magic Johnson would suit back up for the Lakers for 32 games in the 1995-96 NBA season before retiring from the NBA for good. 


About the author
Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Covering everything from Wilt Chamberlain's offensive goaltending games in 1962 to Ja Morant's points in the paint absurdity in 2022.

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