Sai Selvarajan, editor and designer at Lucky Post, has created a short film tribute to Magic Johnson and the inspirational power of basketball, marking the 20th anniversary of Johnson’s HIV announcement. Twenty years ago, basketball’s Dream Team ushered in Olympic history, exposing a global audience to the majesty of the sport and informing new generations of players and fans. Gold was the prize, but for many the inspiration came from the participation of Magic Johnson who retired a year earlier after the stunning announcement that he had contracted HIV.
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Listening to an archival interview with Magic Johnson, Sai discovered playing on the Dream Team provided healing for Johnson who suffered depression following his diagnosis – then considered a terminal illness. This revelation was Sai’s creative starting point for “Magic”.
“Throughout my life, I have played basketball and it has helped me tackle other challenges,” Sai explains. “While I haven’t faced anything as intense, I related to Johnson’s near spiritual connection to the sport and was awestruck by his ability to face adversity in many forms.”
Finding time in between commissioned work, Sai took audio news and interview clips and began to craft his short film. Working primarily with Photoshop, AfterEffects and Final Cut, Sai applied motion and color treatment to shots of Johnson interwoven with vintage-inspired infographics, all set to a music track by his band Warmth Through Distance. The result captures a pivotal moment in history and illuminates the power of sport just as the Olympics – and a new Dream Team – play out in London.