Magic Johnson was famous for two things – being a Laker and beating HIV. It all began when Magic could not keep his Johnson holstered – he got struck down by a virus that had no known cure.
In his quest to beat Wilt Chamberlain, Magic ignored the warnings of latex manufacturers and decided to go in headfirst, with no cover. That brought on some major problems, effects of which can still be felt to this day.
At the time of his announcement, the world did not know much about the virus – almost all the players were afraid to play with or against him. he tried to make a comeback in 1992 when he was cleared, but no one wished to be on the same court as him, so he retired. But 4 years later, his move was accepted.
Two players known for their no filter comments, Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman, had this to say about him. They were on the court only to play basketball and did not care if a man was struck down by a fatal disease. All they wanted to do is body him, as much as they could.
Dennis Rodman and Magic Johnson had their battle when the Lakers legend decided to return in the 1996-97 season
And body him they did. Because when Magic returned to play the Bulls in 1996, it was a different world. 4 years may not seem like a lot, but this Bulls team was ready to win its second 3-peat. Dennis Rodman bullied Johnson all night long, riding him like a mechanical bull.
Michael Jordan pulled Magic aside after the game and said “Earvin, you have to remember now, you’re not with Kareem, you’re not with James Worthy. All the guys you used to play with, Showtime, are not on that Lakers team anymore. So maybe you should think about retiring.” These words couldn’t be truer, and it was the final nail in the coffin for his failed attempt to make a comeback.
Johnson did not last long in the league after that and has moved on to other things in life – like making almost 600 million dollars. Not bad for someone who the world thought was going to die at any point in time.