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Ross Forman, Windy City Times: AIDS @ 30 — AIDS Magic’s bold coming out with HIV

AIDS Magic’s bold coming out with HIV
by Ross Forman, August 24, 2011


i’ve cut & pasted a hefty set of links to windy city news media  articles about AIDS at the end of this post just to see what happens. take a look.


He remembers it like it was yesterday, not 20 years ago.

Ted Cappas returned from class to his apartment at Indiana University when one of his two roommates told him that he had to sit down, that he had to tell him something major.

That’s when, where and how Cappas learned on Nov. 7, 1991, of the shocking news that his all-time favorite basketball player, Magic Johnson, had announced to the world that he was retiring from the National Basketball Association ( NBA ) because he was HIV-positive.

“I just remember being in shock and thought he was going to die [ almost immediately ] ,” said Cappas, now 39 and living in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.

“At that time, the prevailing attitude was, once someone got HIV, they were going to die. And that’s what I felt. I was so upset.”

Then a sophomore on the Bloomington campus, Cappas immediately left his apartment and went to a campus gym—to shoot hoops and try to get his mind off the news.

“If you asked most of my friends at the time, or my family, when they heard the news, the first person they thought of was me—because they knew how upset I’d be. Heck, my mom didn’t even call me because she knew I’d be so sad,” Cappas said.

Cappas grew up in suburban Northbrook and attended Glenbrook North High School, where he played on the school’s sophomore basketball team as a freshman, and then the next three years on the Spartans’ varsity squad.

Even before high school, the first NBA Finals that Cappas remembers—as a 10-year-old in 1980—featured Johnson in the spotlight. Games weren’t broadcast live at the time, but he stayed up late to watch on tape-delay.

Cappas graduated from Indiana in 1994 and came out as a gay man in 1995. He has played in the predominantly gay Coady Roundball Classic basketball tournament in Chicago for the past 14 years—and also ran the event for seven years.

Cappas even has a Johnson jersey from Michigan State University hanging in his home on Chicago’s North Side.

“I remember being so sad for him, thinking what was going to happen to him and sad from a selfish standpoint as well that I wasn’t going to get to watch him play anymore,” Cappas said.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, born Aug. 14, 1959, in Lansing, Mich., played at Michigan State before being the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1979, selected by the Los Angles Lakers. He blossomed into one of the best NBA players ever and, in 1996, was selected one of the Top 50 Players in NBA history by the NBA.

Johnson’s Hall of Fame career included three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, 12 All-Star games, and 10 All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists per game, with an average of 11.2. Johnson was a five-time NBA champion whose jersey number ( 32 ) has been retired by the LA Lakers.

“Everyone immediately thought he was gay because [ HIV/AIDS ] was then painted as the gay-disease,” Cappas said. “But since Magic [ is ] straight, that really changed people’s perceptions—in a good way. He showed that it wasn’t just a gay disease, that anyone could pick up that disease.”

Though he officially retired in November 1991, Johnson returned to the sport on Feb. 9, 1992, to play in the annual NBA All-Star Game, held in Orlando, Fla. Johnson won the MVP Award after scoring a game-high 29 points to lead his Western Conference teammates to a 153-113 win over the Eastern Conference.

“That [ game ] was a defining moment in HIV,” Cappas said. “He had [ the disease ] , yet had a phenomenal game; that [ game ] opened a lot of eyes.”

Johnson’s popular one-night return for the All-Star Game wasn’t, though, without controversy, even within the league. Take, for instance, Karl Malone, who also had a Hall of Fame career. He openly stated that he didn’t want to play against Johnson because he was afraid he might catch AIDS.

Johnson was a member of the 1992 gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Dream Team that he captained along with longtime rival Larry Bird.

Johnson returned to the NBA in 1996, at age 37, and played 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.

“Magic’s return [ to the NBA ] in 1996 had a big influence because he was playing at the highest level,” Cappas said.

“I think Magic has had a bigger impact on the African-American community with what he has done business-wise. He’s been such an amazing example of a world-class athlete transitioning to the business world and being tremendously successful.

“When I look at Magic today, I don’t immediately think that he’s HIV-positive. When I see Magic today, I see an ex-superstar athlete who is now an announcer and successful businessman, then, a minute or two later, it hits me that he also is HIV-positive.

“To see him live a very successful life, it makes [ the disease ] more human.”

Johnson was presented with the inaugural World AIDS Award from the AIDS Health Foundation in Los Angeles in November 2010. Johnson told attendees: “Who would have ever thought that, 20 years later, here I am and we’re still trying to help people. This disease is a deadly disease, but I think now, where we couldn’t talk about it 20 years ago in open, now we can talk openly about it. We can have awards like tonight at the Staples Center. What a blessing that is.”

The Magic Johnson Foundation was founded by Johnson in 1991 to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities. Among its claims of ‘What We Do,’ the Foundation states: “raising AIDS/HIV awareness.”

Magic is still Cappas’ favorite.

AIDS Dance for Life turns 20 2011-08-24
AIDS Lantvit coaches people to help in AIDS battle 2011-08-24
AIDS Chicagoan Torres helps TPAN with riding power 2011-08-24
AIDS Life lessons for Chicago HIV+ athlete 2011-08-24
AIDS Rudy Galindo speaks out about AIDS 2011-08-24
AIDS Greg Louganis keeps on ‘diving’ against HIV/AIDS 2011-08-24
AIDS Legal Council hosts ‘Orient Express’ Aug. 24 2011-08-24
AIDS: Chicagoans help people with AIDS in Vietnam 2011-08-17
AIDS: Keith Elliott: Co-founder of Dance for Life and a true renaissance man 2011-08-17
AIDS: Black Gay Men’s Caucus responds to rise in AIDS cases in young men 2011-08-17
TPAN’s ‘Roof’ Aug. 25 at MDA 2011-08-17
AIDS: Dance For Life documentary to air on WTTW 2011-08-10
New HIV/AIDS housing opens in South Chicago 2011-08-10
AIDS: Faith leaders hold conversation on HIV/AIDS at DuSable Museum 2011-08-03
AIDS: LaToya Jackson – ‘Apprentice’ fundraiser 2011-08-03
AIDS: The long view – Christeller leads women’s AIDS group 2011-08-03
Officials discuss HIV/AIDS strategy 2011-07-27
AIDS drugs help, but cultural determinants still crucial in the Black community 2011-07-20
Study: Meds highly effective against HIV infection 2011-07-20
CDC announces results of HIV/AIDS research in heterosexual prevention 2011-07-13
Illinois receives $178M from HUD 2011-07-13
Ride for AIDS participants reflect 2011-07-13
Mayor Emanuel congratulate Munar on White House recognition 2011-07-07
AIDS: Bob Strada reflects on impact of AIDS on sports 2011-07-06
AIDS: Making a ‘Poz’ connection: Sean Strub 2011-07-06
HUD: more than $178 Mil for community development, housing in IL 2011-07-01
AIDS Former Chicagoan Tom Buchanan looks back at 28 years of HIV 2011-06-29
AIDS: Michael O’Connor, I’m Still Here 2011-06-22
AIDS: Champions of Change: HIV/AIDS – 30 Years of Activism on the Frontlines 2011-06-22
Latino Commission on AIDS hosting June 23-25 training 2011-06-22
AIDS: Anthony Fauci at the Center of the AIDS Story 2011-06-15
AIDS: Mark Ishaug pushes AIDS agenda in Chicago and far beyond 2011-06-15
The futures of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities: Leaders weigh in 2011-06-15
UN declaration on AIDS addresses HIV among men who have sex with men 2011-06-08
Obama statement on UN high-level HIV/AIDS meeting 2011-06-08
AIDS Nelson Vergel, AIDS expert, talks HIV and healthy aging 2011-06-08
AIDS The Pleasures and Intensities of AIDS Activism; 2011-06-08
AIDS: White House unveils AIDS plan 2011-06-08
Clinton: Public-private partnership with M.A.C AIDS Fund fights gender based violence in S. Africa 2011-06-08
AIDS: White House comments on AIDS @ 30 2011-06-08
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Playing AIDS for comedy and tragedy on Broadway 2011-06-01
AIDS: 45,000 walkers raise $6.2 million at New York AIDS Walk 2011-06-01
AIDS warrior: Chicagoan Keith Green 2011-06-01
AIDS: Sex and seniors in the city, Forum and film on HIV/AIDS and older gays 2011-06-01
HIV/AIDS Steering Committee forming 2011-05-25
AIDS Walk New York, Colorado’s anti-bullying bill 2011-05-18
AIDS: Seniors with AIDS increasing in number 2011-05-18
AIDS: Chicago photographer documents AIDS Quilt history 2011-05-11
AIDS: Rahm Emanuel and CDPH commissioner address AIDS in Chicago 2011-05-11
AIDS: Red ribbon symbolizes AIDS fight 2011-05-04
AIDS: Gay man with AIDS runs against the disease 2011-05-04
AIDS: Rae Lewis-Thornton: Talking with an AIDS diva 2011-05-04
AIDS funding: Caught in the crossfire 2011-05-04
AIDS: Annie Lennox discusses AIDS activism in HIV Plus Magazine 2011-04-27
AIDS: AFC and Windy City Times Want Your Stories for AIDS @ 30 2011-04-20
AIDS: Chicago HIV/AIDS cases pass 36,000 2011-04-20
AFC and Windy City Times want your stories for AIDS @ 30 series 2011-04-13
AIDS @ 18 2011-04-13
AIDS and the law: Positive history 2011-04-13
Savage to keynote AIDS Foundation of Chicago Spring Luncheon 2011-04-07
AFC and Windy City Times Want Your Stories for AIDS @ 30 2011-04-06
AIDS T-shirt campaign confronts stigma and silence 2011-04-06
Silence = Death: The Era of AIDS Begins 2011-04-06
Windy City Times produces 9-month AIDS @ 30 Series 2011-04-01
Screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, AIDS activist, dies 2011-03-30
Michael Leppen to be honored at AIDS Assistance Program’s “Evening Under the Stars” in Palm Springs 2011-03-20
VIEWS We are greater than AIDS 2011-03-09
Green is AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Director of Federal Affairs  2011-03-05
Ex-AFC staffer now at AIDS United 2011-03-02
Forum to focus on AIDS and women who sleep with women 2011-02-23
NMAC statement on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2011-02-02
VIEWS Black America still thinks AIDS is a gay disease 2011-02-02
Hayford wows at AIDS Legal Council of Chicago fundraiser 2011-02-02
REFLECTIONS: NYC AIDS campaign raises alarms 2011-01-26
HIV/AIDS agency BEHIV folds; AFC responds to charges (UPDATE) 2011-01-12
AIDS initiative named official Chicago Triathlon program 2011-01-12
Julie Davids Joins AIDS Foundation of Chicago 2011-01-08
TPAN gets $75K from Elton John AIDS Foundation 2010-12-29
Elton John AIDS Foundation awards TPAN $75K 2010-12-22
HIV/AIDS issues discussed at mayoral forum 2010-12-08
Hairdressers’ anti-AIDS initiative 2010-12-08
Illinois Lottery unveils ticket for World AIDS Day 2010-12-01
Munar to head AIDS Foundation of Chicago 2010-12-01
Anti-homophobia, Youth, AIDS Day programs planned 2010-11-24
David Munar to head AIDS Foundation of Chicago 2010-11-24
Lambda Legal reports on HIV stigma, discrimination for World AIDS Day 2010-11-24
AIDS alliance seeking members 2010-11-17
AIDS alliance seeking members 2010-11-10
CDPH seeking AIDS award nominees; deadline Nov. 1 2010-10-27
Southern Illinois AIDS Walk 2010-10-20
BUZZ Final AIDS Walk volunteer meeting Wed. Oct. 13 2010-10-13
Springfield HIV/AIDS center’s gala Oct. 16 2010-10-13
Obama pledges more global AIDS funds 2010-10-06
AIDS Run/Walk draws 7,000 2010-10-06
Event spotlights HIV/AIDS and Black gay, bisexual youth 2010-10-06
Springfield HIV/AIDS center’s gala Oct. 16 2010-10-06
Optimism dominates AIDS vaccine confab 2010-10-06
AIDS Run/Walk Oct. 2 in Grant Park 2010-09-29
Children’s AIDS group having ‘Dream Halloween’ 2010-09-29
Roger Goodman’s ambitious AIDS movie about Chicago 2010-09-29
Bar AIDS Aug. 26 2010-08-25
Bar AIDS Aug. 26 2010-08-18
Microbicide research makes history at AIDS ’10 2010-07-28
White House issues HIV/AIDS strategy 2010-07-21
Ride for AIDS raises $286K 2010-07-14
Obama comments on AIDS plans 2010-07-14
White House Announces National HIV/AIDS Strategy 2010-07-14
Gay groups call for ABC and The View to take responsibility on HIV/AIDS misinformation 2010-07-12
White House to unveil national HIV/AIDS strategy 2010-07-07
Gov. Quinn highlights AIDS drug assistance in budget announcement 2010-06-30
AIDS activist’s bird—a symbol—dies 2010-06-23
Pappas honors AIDS nurses 2010-06-02
AIDS mural to be shown May 22 2010-05-19
Bayh stuns with AIDS joke 2010-05-19
AIDS Foundation of Chicago celebrates 25th 2010-05-05
AIDS group honors Obama 2010-05-01
AIDS Awareness Mural Taking Shape on West Side 2010-04-26
AIDS group honors Obama 2010-04-14
SPORTS Richard Cordova aims for AIDS ride record 2010-04-14
Jeff Crowley on National HIV/AIDS Policy 2010-04-14
Local AIDS chair on PACHA 2010-04-07
$1.8 billion in HIV/AIDS care from feds 2010-04-07
AIDS group prez Kelly skips hearing 2010-04-01
AIDS group prez Kelly skips hearing 2010-03-31
Equality, Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness 2010-03-10
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day March 10, 2010 2010-03-03
Obama’s AIDS Council named; Rosie Perez and Phill Wilson included 2010-03-01
AFC: Obama AIDS funding falls short 2010-02-10
Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis 2010-02-03
Letter: Statement for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Feb. 7) 2010-02-03
AIDS history traced 2010-02-03
Obama’s AIDS Council named; Rosie Perez and Phill Wilson included 2010-02-03
AIDS organizations, LGBT community Mourn Zelda Rubinstein 2010-01-28
State AIDS funds face budget cuts 2010-01-20
Howard Brown marks World AIDS Day 2009-12-09
World AIDS Day Awards honor two 2009-12-09
World AIDS Day observance at Center on Halsted 2009-12-09
AIDS Group must return funds 2009-12-09
Honoring AIDS Activism: TAG honors David Hyde Pierce 2009-12-02
Staceyann Chin at World AIDS Day event 2009-11-28
Obama’s World AIDS Day proclamation 2009-11-25
Colo. AIDS project wants submissions 2009-11-25
CDPH’s World AIDS Day reception Dec. 2 2009-11-25
Howard Brown’s World AIDS Day events 2009-11-25
Center holding World AIDS Day events 2009-11-25
Letter: World AIDS Day service 2009-11-25
TPAN’s World AIDS Benefit 2009-11-15
Book Looks at Impact of AIDS on American Politics 2009-11-13
World of Chocolate to raise funds for AIDS Foundation of Chicago 2009-11-09
Looking at the AIDS Marathon Training Program 2009-11-04

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