No one gets through life unscathed. Loss, rejection, fear, hurt, illness, and life's obstacles have gripped us all in some way. It is these challenges, and the individuals that endure them, conquer them, and even rise above them that are a source of inspiration and some of the most beautiful people we have ever known.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr., is one of those people.
Year after year, Magic won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 80's. His winning basketball talent also awarded the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season. Magic was also a member of the Dream Team who was the United States Basketball Team that won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1992.
Needless to say, with three NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, nine NBA Finals and 11 All Star Game appearances, Magic was at the height of his career in 1997, when he suddenly retired. He announced to the world that he contracted HIV and would not return to basketball.
Magic took on the challenge of returning to the Lakers in the 1992 All-Star Game where he won the All Star MVP Award. Fellow basketball players were upset and protested against his playing for fear of contracting HIV.
He consequently retired again for four more years .
At 36 years old, Magic returned again to play 32 games for the Lakers. He retired that same year, in 1996, while also being honored as one of the Top 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Magic continues to inspire others in many ways through motivational lectures, HIV/AIDS activism, sports broadcastings, philanthropy and so much more. Magic Johnson is still infected with HIV. It is his courageous journey while in the grip of this disease that has been an inspiration to many - a survivor - who shines through it all.
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
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