Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson will appear on an episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" this coming Sunday, Dec. 1 — which is also World AIDS Day — for an in-depth interview with Oprah Winfrey about, among other things, the HIV diagnosis that completely changed his life (and, really, the world) 23 years ago.
In the interview, which will air at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time on Winfrey's OWN channel, Johnson sits with Oprah at his Los Angeles home to talk about the Hall of Fame point guard's historic career, which was forever changed by the Nov. 7, 1991, announcement that he had contracted HIV ... and the heartwrenching experience of sharing that information with his Lakers teammates two hours before his landmark press conference:
In Nelson George's 2012 documentary "The Announcement," longtime Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti offered his recollection of the moments before Magic spoke with his teammates:
In a room full of grown men, champions, preparing to hear the worst from their leader, this is what Vitti says Johnson did: "He looked me in the eyes and said, 'When God gave me this disease, he gave it to the right person.'"
Johnson's wide-ranging conversation with Winfrey also touches on his post-retirement business ventures, which have led to his becoming part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his passion for education, including building 17 alternative schools aimed at helping high-school dropouts. Magic and his wife Cookie also discuss how he has maintained his health since his diagnosis, where he stands today, their support for their openly gay son, E.J., and much more.
Magic also gives Oprah a tour of his awards, including the five NBA championship rings he won as a member of the Lakers:
The interview will air Sunday, Dec. 1, at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
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