Regarded as the all time best basketball player to have ever played the game, Erving “Magic” Johnson contracted HIV/AIDS as a result of his long time sexual promiscuity. This L.A Lakers guard left the sport during his prime time after getting affected with the disease in November, 1991. Magic Johnson was honoured as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and was included to Basketball Hall of Fame. Since his departure from the professional basketball, Johnson has led a life as a successful businessman and is also a great advocate for AIDS awareness.
One of America’s greatest professional tennis star and a civil rights activist, Arthur Ashle won the Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. He was the only male black player to win these grand slam titles. Ashley contracted HIV from blood transfusions which he received during his second heart surgery in 1983. The former world number one player died in February 6, 1993 from an advanced HIV related pneumonia.
The American diver who won four gold medals in the 19984 and 1988 Olympic Games, Greg was awarded with the James E. Sullivan award from the Amateur Athletic Union as the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Louganis tested positive for HIV AIDS in 1988 and in 1994, he announced to the world that he was gay. Greg recounted his story in a best-selling autography, Breaking the Surface. Greg Louganis has worked with Human Rights Campaign to defend the rights of LGBT community.
A former Puerto Rican world lightweight champion, Esteban de Jesus died in May 11, 1989 at a young age of 37 due to AIDS related complications. He is best remembered for his legendary fight against Roberto Duran, the win which earned de Jesus a wide-known recognition. Esteban was infected with HIV during his prison term over a charge of murder.
An outstanding receiver among the tight ends in the history of National Football League, Jerry Smith caught 421 passes which includes 60 touchdowns in his entire career. The American footballer died of AIDS on October 15, 1986. He was the first former professional athlete to die of AIDS. A former Washington Redskin player, Jerry Smith was named All-Pro twice and made several records which stood for many years.