It was the moment sports fans can never forget, and now have the chance to relive. Magic Johnson's shocking disclosure in 1991 that he was diagnosed with HIV got the documentary treatment in The Announcement, which screened last week in downtown Los Angeles, just minutes away from where the Lakers play, and aired this past Sunday on ESPN.
In the film, we see Johnson from the time he emerges as a phenom from Michigan State. "I don't know if everyone feels they were born to do something...but I did," he recalls. The Announcement starts off by revisiting the hard-partying culture of '80s and early '90s b-ball, recalled by celebrity fans such as Chris Rock. Then Johnson is given the devastating news, and the tide shifts.
Director Nelson George examined the Lakers point guard's stunning revelation from a variety of standpoints (including the player's own, as he addresses the camera in a recent interview).
"Andre was the one who had to go through a lot when you think of 20 years ago," Johnson said, referring to his son, who was 10 at the time of the announcement. "He didn't know if [his] dad was going to be here."
The rest is well-known history, but George's insightful portrayal of the cultural turning point has critics singing praises. The Los Angeles Times calls the film "moving and informative," while HitFix.com points out, "what George cares about is showing how Magic's illness — and then his continued health, two decades and counting after the diagnosis — changed the world's perception of HIV and AIDS."
The Announcement premiered on ESPN last Sunday night at 9PM.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images)