Price expresses Magic fears

January 27, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

RICHFIELD, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mark Price has nothing but good things to say about Magic Johnson. Price also has a lot of compassion for people suffering from AIDS and those who have tested positive for HIV.

But Price also can understand the concern expressed by the Australian basketball team about playing against Johnson in the Olympics.

"I think in the back of nearly every player's mind is the fact that Magic has tested positive for HIV and that we still don't know that much about it," Price said. "We have people telling us that there is less than a 1 percent chance of catching it on the basketball court.

"But this is not like catching a cold. We are talking about a deadly disease. If one person catches it, that's one person too much."

Johnson will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. Price has a good chance of being selected by the coaches as an Eastern reserve.

"The All-Star Game will be different than a really competitive situation like the Olympics," Price said. "I personally don't have a problem playing [against Magic] in the game because I'm assuming that he'll be there mostly for the fans and not play that much."

Price said he knows that by speaking out on the subject, he could find himself on the hot seat.

"The fans can say they want to see Magic, but the fans aren't on the court where there may be some risk," he said.

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