On October 16, 1992, Magic Johnson returned to the NBA andthe Los Angeles Lakers in an attempted comeback after being diagnosed with HIV and being named MVP of the Dream Team.
Johnson was the last on the Lakers to have his name announced before the game, but he received a roaring, standing ovation. He scored on a two-pointer to put the Lakers on the board. The Lakers eventually claimed a 124-112 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Johnson played most of the pre-season games, but since the disease was not understood, players like Karl Malone refused to play with him on the court. The media circus following him lead him to leave the game. The reason given was to relieve the team from the constant scrutiny and let them play.
Johnson came back for 32 games during the 1995-96 season and proved he still had game but his play time was cut short because of the infection.
Johnson was the first pick of the 1979 NBA draft. He participated in 12 consecutive All-Star games and helped the Lakers to five national titles. The Lakers retired his number, 32, in 1992 and his name was immortalized in 2002 when he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. His priceless smile lets the world know his positive attitude is far from gone.