Johnson later went to play on the US men’s Olympic team in Barcelona, despite the grumbling from other teams (the Australian team’s doctor, for example, warned his players against facing Johnson). Johnson, who is alive and well at 60, tweeted is appreciation yesterday.

Stern had his detractors, and he often ran the NBA as an autocrat. But by standing by Johnson, his impact was profound. As Stern told amFar, “I think that Magic, with a little help from us, changed the debate on AIDS in this country and possibly around the world.”

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.