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Profile of a Hero

October 15, 1995

Exactly how has Magic Johnson "done more for HIV and AIDS than [anyone else]" ("All Work, No Play," by Brice Newman, Sept. 10)? By spending countless hours in meetings making business deals to increase his empire? Or by spending "five hours a day working out," then playing basketball in the afternoon?

Or is it by proudly stating on the Arsenio Hall show that he was "far from being a homosexual?" (Does that help the 89.7% of newly HIV-infected individuals who happen to be gay?) Or by doling out money to organizations that are fighting AIDS? (If so, then David Geffen's multimillion-dollar gifts should for more.)

Perhaps it's because Johnson is a "hero." He came from a poor family and learned to play basketball very well. But he also has taken many sexual partners, all the while cheating on his fiance. Then, when he "attains" HIV, he announces it to the world?

The true heroes of AIDS are the volunteers who work every day on the front lines, directly helping people who can't afford to quit their jobs and buy a "mahogany-paneled" stronghold.

Rahm Tamir

Venice

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Despite Johnson's celebrity status and success in accumulating material wealth, the result of Johnson's unbridled hedonism will serve as a lasting example of the consequences of unwise behavior.

Maybe someday we'll all appreciate the tragedy of Magic Johnson and realize that the glitter, the fast lane and the wild times are nothing more than detours to self-destruction.

Lawrence M. Kates

Los Angeles

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