the official ESPN trailer
see it's TV schedule here (or if you have Comcast - use ESPN OnDemand)
in addition to the film, you can listen Magic's interview podcast here
(both are fascinating)
Three things about it were incredibly powerful and really stuck with me...
*note: I do not remember any of this verbatim and I have very little 'blog'alistic integrity - so I didn't re-watch for direct quotes. Please don't correct me or re-quote me. Just read it like a book report from a D+ student in the 'slow track' English class.
1. the love of a SPOUSE
That sounds dramatic, but I get him. When I think of all that comes with having someone say "I'll stick this out with you." - I don't believe he was exaggerating one bit. When he immediately retired he said it was for Cookie and she said she was for him. And that gives life. That makes enduring any number of things manageable.
I also don't think it's a coincidence that their marriage has lasted over 20 years. There's something about difficulty that shows the deep down goodness in the person you love. It cements a relationship.
2. the support of FRIENDSHIP
This was just a empty gym, where a coach/mentor/friend said, I made sure I hugged him a long time - got all the sweat mixed in - so he knew exactly how I felt.
How a simple afternoon shoot around can change the way a person knows hope and love and acceptance is profound to me. If I stumble into hollywood acting and need to cry on cue, my go-to mental image might be that long sweaty hug between Erving Magic Johnson and Pat Riley.
3. the role of GOD
The press conference was set for Magic tell the world his 'announcement', but he gathered his team in the locker room so they would hear it from him first. He said that facing that group of guys was the hardest thing he had to do. He said it was the first time in all of this he broke down crying. And he told the team, "When God gave me the disease, He gave it to the right person"
When bad things happen, like a freak accident where you get clothes-lined off a cattle car for example, a lot of people offer comfort. They say things like "God has a purpose in this, you'll see" - which is nice I suppose. But do you hear the subtle difference in what Erving said? "When God gave me the disease, He gave it to the right person"
The first has to do with a force of circumstance in which eventually God will work out a new force of circumstances in which you hope good things will come about. The second has to do with a force of circumstance in which you feel you can take what you have from God and make good things come about.
I'm someone who has heard the first example so often I could vomit (because it turns out, if there IS some great purpose, i MIGHT have missed it while I've been laid up in bed for four years - watching 'Lost' on Netflix). I know most of you readers might not be able to relate much to what Magic said in that locker room - but for some of you - I hope its the gift of another option out of a dark place.
We humans are more resilient than we know and I do believe in my core that a creator made us lovingly with a great capacity to endure.... and then to move beyond enduring and make beautiful things out of broken things. I happen to believe that God wants us active in our pain and I think that's what being 'the right person' means...
Magic went on to dedicate his life to educating others about HIV/AIDS. He was also, quite simply, a good man to the people close to him. I don't want to ruin it all for you (I left out two other parts that made me cry, if you can believe that) so just watch it already.