November 7, 1991: “Magic Johnson might have AIDS”

You can't have my job, but I'll tell you a story

John Harte / The Bakersfield Californian On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson shocked the world with his announcement that he was HIV positive and, still in the prime of his career, retiring from the Lakers. In this frame is NBA commissioner David Stern, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson's agent, Lon Rosen. Californian reporter Brad Turner and photographer John Harte covered the announcement, racing to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood and entering through a kitchen when the main entrance to the press area was inaccessible due to a throng of media and fans who descended to the scene. On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson shocked the world with his announcement that he was HIV positive and, still in the prime of his career, retiring from the Lakers. In this frame is NBA commissioner David Stern and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Californian reporter Brad Turner and I covered the announcement, racing to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood and entering through a kitchen when the main entrance to the press area was inaccessible due to a throng of media and fans who descended on the scene. This is one of my shots from that day.

By the Fall of 1991, I was firmly established as The Bakersfield Californian’s “night photographer,” working the evening shift exclusively. The shift was not popular with the other photographers, almost all of them preferred the morning shifts, so there were no objections when I volunteered to work the night shift permanently, something I did for…

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