Friday, November 07, 2008

Exactly 6210 days ago [(17 * 365) + 5 leap days]

As I alluded to on my Facebook status page, 17 years ago to this day was a pretty emotional time for a 12 year old who’s hero announced he contracted the HIV virus. If you knew me in the 80s, my man-crush on Magic was greater than all my combined man-crushes since – Kenny, Steph, Ne-Yo, Kanye, Nas, Pac, Justin, Ne-Yo, Tiger…okay you get the idea – and all my homies knew it. We had basketball practice that afternoon, and I played inspired ball so I could eventually take his place in the NBA lol. But for real, all the ridicule he received was something I took personally. “He’s gay!” to “Ahh that’s why him and Isiah always kissed before they played?” to “What does Magic stand for? My Ass Got Infected Coach!” Man…that was a tough pill to swallow.

The season before the Bulls beat the Lakers for their first championship, and Magic did all he could, getting a triple-double in the last game when the youngin’s like Elden Campbell, Tony Smith and Vlade Divac were getting a chunk of minutes. So naturally I was looking forward to the upcoming season. I remember that preseason where he played a few games and abruptly stopped, and the Lakers used the excuse that he’s resting for the regular season or something. Then he missed the first few games because of the flu or whatever, no biggie he’ll come back better and stronger.

Then a couple people run into the gym screaming “Magic has AIDS!” and of course I was in disbelief and shock. Its not like now when these tweens have Blackberries and get news on the fly. We had to rely on word of mouth! This was a fairly new disease and my assumption was only gay dudes can contract it. And of course he’s not gay, he’s Magic Freakin’ Johnson. Anyway after practice I went home and just was in a somber mood. I’ve never had a dog, but if he were to pass or runaway or something, then that’s how I would feel. Anyway that night I hit the sack, crying my eyes out, hoping it was all a bad dream. But of course it was reality.