In May 2022, the Lakers’ Hall of Famer, Magic Johnson, appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for the promotion of his new documentary called “They Call Me Magic”. During a brief conversation with Kimmel, the 62-year-old legend reminisced about a heart-warming memory with another Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan.
In the year 1991, Earvin Johnson was diagnosed with HIV. However, his enthusiasm and love for the game made him return after five years. Most notably, when the Lakers faced the Bulls, both legends came face to face with each other.
“They really showed me the difference between a championship team and a playoff team,” Johnson recalled to Kimmel. “They were a championship team, we were just a regular team. And they played me so hard. They were physical, they pushed me around…”
Michael Jordan had already built a name for himself after winning three consecutive NBA championships. He was not only the best player but also a brilliant intellect. The six-time NBA champion is well-known for his benevolent nature towards his friends and family. When he learned that his rival has HIV, he wanted to assist him in any way he could.
The six time NBA Finals MVP, Michael was also aware that Johnson’s support structure had disbanded with the retirement of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. He forecasted that if Magic continues, he will suffer because of his illness and lack the support from his teammates.
“Michael, after that game, he pulled me aside — I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this,” Johnson said. “He met me in between the locker rooms, and he said, ‘Earvin, you have to remember now, you’re not with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], you’re not with James Worthy. All the guys you used to play with, Showtime, are not on that Laker team anymore. So remember, maybe you should think about retiring.”