*It was 20 years ago today when LA Lakers superstar guard Ervin “Magic” Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive.

Along with everyone else, Bob Costas, the TV sports commentator and play-by-play man remembers being rocked by the news that the magic man was had AIDS.

“I was stunned,” Costas said, “and my immediate thought was, knowing what we thought we knew about HIV, we would watch Magic Johnson die a public death, that he would waste away. This was what we thought we understood about the virus, that his days were numbered.”

Now the number of days Johnson has ahead of him seems limitless when the strong, healthy-looking basketball great, onetime coach, voluble television commentator and successful businessman puts on his smile and optimism and shakes your hand.

Chris Mullin, who played with Johnson on the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team, said that when he sees Johnson anywhere, his own big hand disappears into Johnson’s bigger hands. “It makes you remember,” Mullin said, “just how strong he is.”

How strong he is. Not was.

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