(CBS News) And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: September 29th, 1992, 21 years ago today . . . the day Magic Johnson told Los Angeles basketball fans just what they wanted to hear: "I'm coming back to the Lakers and I'm playing again."
It was a dramatic reversal from the announcement he had made the previous November, one that had stunned people in the sports world and beyond:
"Because of the HIV virus that I have obtained, I will have to retire from the Lakers."
One of the game's greatest players ever, Magic Johnson was poised to begin his 13th season with the Lakers when a physical revealed in the fall of 1991 that he was infected with HIV.
At a time of lingering fear and ignorance about the virus, Johnson's candor won him widespread support, including from an old Boston Celtics rival turned friend.
In a "Sunday Morning" interview four years ago, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird looked back on a phone call with our Jim Axelrod:
Johnson: "The first call I got was Larry Bird. First call. He's cryin' and just checking up on me, you know?"
Axelrod: "You hung up the phone, and . . . ?"
Byrd: "Couldn't sleep, 'cause at that time you thought it was a death sentence."
But as all the world knows, Magic Johnson has proven that fear wrong.
True to his word, he took no part in the 1991-92 regular season, but he did play in the All-Star Game . . . winning MVP honors . . . and he was also a member of the U.S. "Dream Team" at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
And though he reversed himself again and didn't play in the 1992-93 season after all, Magic Johnson wasn't through with basketball just yet.
He coached the Lakers briefly in 1994, and finally did make his return as a player for a time early in 1996, before retiring for good.
Today at age 54, Magic Johnson is very much alive -- not to mention a successful businessman with a financial stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A chain of movie theaters bears his name, as does the foundation he created to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.
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