I had the absolute please of viewing the fantastic new ESPN documentary last titled ‘The Announcement’.
‘The Announcement’ in question is the announcement Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson made to the world informing them he had contracted the HIV Virus. As usual with ESPN documentaries you know you can expect a sports film of the highest quality, some of the biggest names commenting and probably a few tears.
‘The Announcement’ wasn’t any different. It jumped straight into Magic and Bird tussling it out in the 1979 NCAA finals to Magic’s rookie year with the Lakers in rapid time.
It focused a lot on Magic being somewhat the ‘King’ of L.A, almost an attraction if you will to a whole Nation let alone just residents of Los Angeles. ESPN obviously didn’t touch too much of the subject of Magic’s ‘partying’ and rightly so. Magic’s wife Cookie was a prominent face throughout the documentary and she showed nothing but love and support for Magic, despite him so obviously betraying her sexually.
The team doctor talking about getting Magic’s results back was heartbreaking, and the detail Magic discussed in his having to go home and tell Cookie was intense. Magic did go on to say he wasn’t sure he could have lived with himself if he had have infected Cookie, and their soon to be born baby. Intense!
The build up to the announcement was brutal, from his secretive plan from the media (displaying it as flu like symptoms) to pulling a team meeting and breaking down in front of them was so brutally honest of Magic. These are details he still could have kept to himself to this day. ESPN used actual footage from the huge announcement and showed just how it shocked the sport and the world.
The documentary did this historic moment in sport a huge justice, with its subject being one of the most loved, respected and general good guys of the sport. It’s displaying of a hero rising to fame, gaining respect from all his peers, to the HIV, to people fearing him because of it, to him making people aware and gaining nothing but that respect back made for a fantastic watch, although an emotional one.