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Magic Johnson and AIDS: Paying tribute to a historic moment

November 7, 2011 |  8:01 am

Magic Johnson, Liz Taylor

"Twenty years ago a man at the prime of his basketball career walked to the podium and did one of the most courageous things -- shared his HIV status with the world. More than just retiring from the game of basketball he then took on the charge to educate and prevent the spread of HIV."

Talk back LAThat's how the Magic Johnson Foundation described the basketball's great's announcement 20 years ago that he was HIV positive.

In the videos below, Shaquille O'Neal and Ludacris pay tribute to Johnson. In the sports section, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke also offers praise, saying: "Monday is not the 20th anniversary of a death, but perhaps the most stirring rebirth in the history of American sports."

PHOTOS: Magic Johnson  through the years

He notes that Johnson's announcement was one of those moments etched in L.A. history: "Where were you? It was 3 p.m. on the afternoon of Nov. 7, 1991, and if you lived in Los Angeles, you know where you were. It was our Kennedy assassination moment, our Challenger space shuttle moment, a moment when the Southland lost its sports innocence." Fans also reacted in the column's comments area.

What are your memories of that day? Share your thoughts and reflections with us below.


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Photo: Actress and AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor rests her head on the arm of basketball legend Magic Johnson as he speaks before a fashion show at an AIDS/HIV awareness fundraiser at Santa Monica Airport. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters