Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Announcement

I'll never forget that day, November 7, 1991.

I was in my office at work when I got a call from a friend––Magic was going to announce he has AIDs. After I asked him what was the punchline, he told me this was the word on the street. We used to call it the grapevine. And the grapevine in LA is all about who knows who and "the real story you won't ever hear on the news."

I then got up from my desk to try to get rid of the shock. As I was walking down the hallway, a co-worker said to me, "did you hear? Magic has AIDS. He's going to have a press conference around Noon." This was taking place around 10-10:30am, West Coast time. We all gathered in front of the TV in our conference room, eerily silent as we waited like everyone else.

Fast forward 20 years. As I watched "The Announcement" on Sunday, I started to relive that moment. And then, as I listened to Magic talk about telling his Wife and Family, I broke down. Tears were running down my face and I must have looked terrible, as my Wife said, "are you OK? I know how much you love Magic." I turned to her and said, "what he just said about having to tell Cookie (Magic's Wife), I went through the exact thing. Feeling the same way. And I NEVER heard this part of his story before." This blog started almost 4 years ago because I had to share the reactions by other people in my life through the cancer diagnosis, treatments and seeing people for the first time since I had cancer. Magic went through the same thing, but on a much bigger and less private stage. But I knew exactly what he was going through. And how much he had to educate people that he had HIV, not AIDS, and how he and others after him would beat this and live longer than anyone expected.

Thank you, Earvin, for sharing such intimate details about your path. And thank you for your strength.

That is much bigger than The Announcement.