Following Magic Johnson’s announcement that he had HIV in 1991, many in the NBA didn’t know how to react with some even being scared to be near the NBA legend due to misinformation about the disease..
That wasn’t the case for Dennis Rodman. The former Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls star revealed at the time how he didn’t care what disease Magic had, he just knew he wasn’t going to get to the basket under his watch.
"I couldn't care less if the guy I'm guarding has HIV. I'm going to slam him anyways," Rodman said at the time, via a quote pulled by Dunk County.
Similarly, during a 2019 interview with Business Insider, Rodman described the fear NBA players had of playing with Johnson at the time.
“They asked all the players in the NBA; nobody wanted to play with him," Rodman told Business Insider. "They asked me, I said, I don’t give a damn, I just wanna play. I don’t give a damn if he got that.”
After his successful championship runs in Detroit and Chicago, Rodman finished out his career with stints in San Antonio, Los Angeles and Dallas before retiring in 2000. Although Johnson announced his retirement in 1991, he came back for a single season with the Lakers in 1995-96 before leaving the court.
Renewed interest in Magic Johnson’s story has peaked over the last few weeks with the release of the first season of HBO’s Winning Time, which documents the Showtime Lakers’ rise during the early 1980s as well as Apple TV+’s They Call Me Magic docuseries, which charts the career of the Hall of Famer.
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