The Announcement: Previewing Magic Johnson's Touching ESPN Films Documentary

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Basketball hall-of-famer and Michigan State Spartans alum Earvin 'Magic' Johnson talks with members of the media before the North Carolina Tar Heels take on the Spartans in the NCAA men's college basketball Carrier Classic aboard the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

It's hard to believe that Magic Johnson announced his retirement from the NBA due to his contraction of HIV in 1991, a truly sad moment for the NBA, but a landmark moment for HIV and AIDS awareness in the United States.

The story of Johnson's announcement and its aftermath is told in ESPN Films' documentary, The Announcement. You can check out the trailer below.

Thankfully, the film is told through Johnson's own words, a personal touch a story such as this desperately needs. The documentary will also feature various familiar faces and colleagues of Johnson such as Pat Riley, James Worthy, Arsenio Hall and NBA Commissioner David Stern.

It's a story that is not only important for Johnson, but also the director of the film, Nelson George, as Richard Sandomir of The New York Times notes:

“What’s important to him is that this disease is still out there,” said Lon Rosen, Johnson’s former agent, who is the executive vice president of Magic Johnson Enterprises. “People think it’s not as bad it was. Drug companies aren’t creating new drugs. He wants to keep this disease top-of-mind.”

With Johnson onboard, Schell’s group hired Nelson George, a writer and filmmaker, as the director. George had already made a film for HBO about AIDS, “Life Support,” with Queen Latifah. And George’s sister, Andrea Williams, is H.I.V. positive; she is an AIDS activist who is interviewed in the documentary. “I wanted to do some follow-up about H.I.V. because the disease has gone to the back burner in this country,” he said.

This film has all of the makings of a must-watch, and if the other contributions to the "30 for 30" series are any indication, it should serve as a touching and extremely well-made film.

The Announcement airs March 11th on ESPN at 9 p.m. EST.


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