Others, however, praise Johnson's work to date, which includes membership on the National Commission on AIDS, speeches and TV appearances. "He's a hero because he didn't just make the announcement and then go away," says Phill Wilson, AIDS coordinator for the city of Los Angeles and an HIV carrier for 12 years. Said Randy Shilts, author of the AIDS history And the Band Played On. after watching Sunday's game on TV: "If you would have told me two years ago that someone with HIV would stand before a crowded arena and get a standing ovation, I would have said you were crazy. HIV is an alienating experience, and the response was truly inspirational."
Magic's standing O lasted two minutes during the pregame introductions. As it went on, members of the Eastern Conference team, led by his friend Isiah Thomas, the Detroit Piston star, walked across the court and embraced him. Then he went out and played like the Magic of old. With time running out in the fourth period. Magic motioned to Thomas to come out and guard him. Thomas obliged, and as he dribbled. Magic looked at the shot clock that was heading toward zero, launched his three-point shot and raised his right fist in the air as the ball swished. The game concluded 14 seconds later with a crowd of players surrounding him. Regardless of whether Magic ever plays again, it was, said the West's Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trail Blazers, "a moment to cherish."