In 1991, Johnson's announcement that he had contracted the disease sent shockwaves through the sports world. Since then, Johnson has been a vocal proponent for additional federal funding for AIDS research and treatment.

Thursday was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national testing and treatment mobilization effort that targets the nation's Black communities. Spread of the disease is particularly prevalent among blacks; the Center for Disease Control reports that despite representing just 14 percent of the population, 44 percent of new HIV infections were of black Americans.

Johnson, who is now a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and an NBA analyst for ESPN, was a vocal supporter of President Obama's reelection last year, taping a video for the president's campaign website.