On 1st December 2007, one of the world's most well-known people living with HIV/AIDS, American Ervin "Magic" Johnson marked the 16th year of living with the virus. Magic Johnson was famous and known the world over as one of the world's best basketball players before announcing his sudden retirement from the NBA in 1991, when he was diagnosed HIV positive. An NBA Hall of Fame and one of 50 greatest players, Johnson says he was infected before marrying his wife, Cookie. They had only been married for a few months when he found about his status. "Everyone thought I was going to die like a year later," Johnson said. "They didn't know better. So I helped educate at the sport, then the world, that a man living with HIV can play basketball. He's not going to give it to anybody by playing basketball." Johnson admitted to having multiple sexual partners and having unprotected sex during his many trips, caught the virus when little was known about it. Some of his fellow basket ballers refused to go into the court with him, fearing they might be injured and somehow come into contact with his injected blood. Johnson had to retire. Johnson still lives on anti retro-viral drugs. He is still following his doctor's programme and making sure he get exercise and proper diet; exercising every morning at 5:30 a.m, working until eight or nine every evening and raising his three children with Cookie.
Through his foundation - the Magic Johnson Foundation - and personal appearances, he had been campaigning to clear misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS, especially among African Americans. On living with Johnson, Cookie Johnson said that to be a spouse of someone who has HIV and AIDS, you still work toward having a normal life. "That's what we do. We eat healthy, we work out, we never look back. We only look forward." Following a brief comeback in 1992 and a second one in 1995-96, Johnson had used his celebrity to raise money as well as public consciousness. Johnson was inspired to take action by activist Elizabeth Glaser, wife of actor Paul Michael Graser, who played Detective Dave Starsky in the 70s hit drama Starsky and Hutch. "She was dying of AIDS, and she said, 'You are going to be here a long time because we have some great drugs coming down the pipeline. The only thing I want you to do is make sure you go out and talk about HIV and AIDS all the time and help other people'," he remembered.