But it was on that date that the Lakers superstar decided to share with the world the shocking news he had recently received from doctors — that he was
"November 7, 1991 was a life-changing day that I never saw coming," Johnson wrote in a post on his website, The Playbook, commemorating the 25 years that have passed since his historic announcement.
"Up until then, I thought the hardest thing I'd ever done was play against Michael Jordan or Larry Bird, but on this day I began the fight of my life. This day, I began to realize how God was working in my life. My faith gave me strength to stand up and tell the world that I had contracted Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)."
But that day wasn't life-changing only for Johnson.
Back then, a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS was considered a death sentence of sorts. It was also widely believed that AIDS and HIV only affected the gay community. On this day a quarter-century ago, Johnson started helping to shatter those misconceptions, something he continues to do to this day.
"Today is a celebration of life, a celebration of what some people thought was a death sentence 25 years ago. It's a celebration of everything I've been through until now," Johnson wrote on The Playbook.
He added: "Though I had accepted my new status, telling the world was a different ordeal. In the early 1990s hearing about anyone with HIV/AIDS meant that they didn't have long to live. I felt it was my duty to educate as many people as I could about the disease. It was then that I began my new journey to walk every day in God's purpose. Today, I continue to do everything I can to bring awareness and education about this disease to the community."