Wayne Gretzky is no longer the only former Los Angeles sports star with a prominent statue in town. Next to his more-than-life-size bronze outside Staples Center, Magic Johnson got an even larger statue Wednesday in a ceremony attended by the mayor and a bunch of former Lakers stars. Randy Harvey's story in the L.A. Times is pegged to Johnson's survival with HIV.
When Johnson revealed in November of 1991 that he was HIV positive, it might have been possible to predict that there someday would be a statue of him in Los Angeles. Less predictable was that he would be here to see it.
Little was known then about the virus and its treatment. The assumption was that it would evolve into AIDS, which meant death ó maybe within five years, almost certainly within 10.
Johnson, of course, has gone on to become a substantial business and political force in the city. Lakers fans should hope that his statue is a better good-luck charm than Gretzky's has been for the Kings. Since its unveiling two seasons ago, most of the hockey team's best players have gone down with serious injuries -- two of them suffered head injuries and have not played in more than a year, and may never again. These days, Kings fans talk about the curse of the Gretzky statue.