It belabors the obvious to say that it is a profound tragedy that so winsome and talented a young man as Earvin "Magic" Johnson has become infected with the AIDS virus. But there is also profound irony. Johnson's stunning disclosure comes at a time when another basketball great, Wilt Chamberlain, is promoting his newly published biography in which he claims to have had "sexual encounters" with 20,000 women.
The claim is obviously spurious; it would mean three "encounters" a day for 20 years. But whether intended or not, Chamberlain's boast can only serve to legitimize promiscuous sexual conduct, making it appear as routine an activity as throwing a few baskets after school.