Light and dark in life and death

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 24 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:466
  1. John Roberts

    Athletic prowess represents the rugged, individualistic, can-do attitude that Americans perceive in themselves. Over the past two weeks the sports metaphor has been particularly poignant, showing the best of America and the saddest. Not surprisingly, the catalyst has been AIDS.

    On 6 February, a few minutes into a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, a man perceived to be dying of HIV walked on to the court and received a wild ovation from the 17000 fans and three million more watching on television.

    In 1991 Magic Johnson, one of the most talented athletes in basketball, retired because he had tested positive for HIV and because of fears that he might infect other players. But this month Johnson stepped on to the court, supported by fellow players, and …

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