Today's Army recruitment videos are dramatic and inspirational. In 1987 they were...a little silly and nonsensical. Take this one, which uses Magic Johnson as an example of "being all that you can be." While I can't argue that Magic did indeed get the absolute most out of his physical abilities, I'm not sure how the message "See how this talented athlete has become the best player in his sport and is making bags and bags of money?" was supposed to inspire anyone to earn poverty-level wages for the right to have scary old guys scream and spit all over you. But what do I know about military psychology? Besides, I bet those yummy field rations make it all worthwhile.
Random sidenote: Basketbawful reader Wormboy mentioned (and vehemently agreed with)another criticism leveled against Magic in the article I referenced in yesterday's post: "While imploring the kids to 'Make sure that you make the right decisions' and underscoring that remark with 'You know what's right from wrong,' the NBA legend never took ownership of his monumental mistake of contracting HIV. With this disease rampant in the black community, it seems only appropriate that Johnson's act include one measly mention of his poor decision-making."
Here's the thing, though: Magic's wide-ranging campaign against HIV has been well-chronicled. (Go to the I Stand With Magic site for more details.) He has spent a great deal of time since his fateful retirement announcement owning up to his mistake and speaking out about the dangers of HIV and AIDS. Realistically speaking, how long does Magic need to keep apologizing? Is he really responsible for bringing it up at each and every single speaking engagement he does? Really?
While I agree with the general sentiment -- that it is important to continue to inform and educate the black community (and all communities) about the threat HIV poses to the world -- I also think there is a time and place for it. And Magic has done it many times in many places, and continues to do so. So, in my opinion, that criticism was a trifle unfair.