When Magic Johnson announced he had HIV, the NBA world didn't know how to react. His colleagues had a hard time trying to figure out what to do or what Magic should do with his career. He received a lot of criticism, mostly due to the misinformation about the disease, which led Magic to retire from the game for the first time.
While many said some harsh things about the Los Angeles Lakers icon, others had a different approach to that, showing support to Magic and trying to calm everybody down, explaining that playing basketball against him wasn't enough to get the disease.
Dennis Rodman was one of those players that really didn't care about Magic's illness and was willing to keep facing the legendary point guard. Besides Charles Barkley, Rodman also said that he didn't have any problem with that:
"I couldn't care less if the guy I'm guarding has HIV. I'm going to slam him anyways," Rodman said at the time.
Rodman, a wild person off the court, didn't have any issues going against Magic even after the news was revealed. In 2019, he would double down on this, saying he didn't care about that and just wanted to play against Magic:
“They asked all the players in the NBA; nobody wanted to play with him," Rodman told Business Insider. "They asked me, I said, I don’t give a damn, I just wanna play. I don’t give a damn if he got that.”
Magic would return to the league and had a few duels with Rodman, but he obviously wasn't the same player he was during the 80s. While Rodman enjoyed the sweet taste of victory with the Chicago Bulls, Johnson would retire for the final time in 1996, preventing us from watching him playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on the Lakers.
Rodman was a character, somebody who liked to party a lot and had a wild life, so perhaps he could have learned something from Magic's experience, while also showing empathy towards the 5x NBA champion.