Florida man thrown out of basketball game when refs find out he is HIV-positive
When Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV-positive, a few NBA basketball players, Karl Malone in particular, showed their ignorance on the subject of AIDS and stated why they wouldn’t want to play with or against Magic on the basketball court. That was 22 years ago. Last week, 21 year old Dakota Basinger found out that many people today aren’t much different than Malone was a year before Dakota was even born.
A St. Cloud man was kicked out of a Kissimmee Parks and Recreation basketball game this week because he is HIV-positive.
Dakota Basinger, 21, had been playing league basketball all season for Florida Dream Sports, a league sponsored by the city of Kissimmee. But four minutes into the second half of the team’s playoff game on Sunday, the referee blew the whistle.
“He called a timeout, which was rare,” Basinger said. “He made both teams go to their benches.”
Basinger said a city employee called him into a room and asked Basinger if he was HIV positive. Basinger, who was diagnosed a week ago and had posted the information on his Facebook page, said he was. Then, Basinger said, the employee told him that he would need to stop playing – for good.
“I feel humiliated and discriminated against,” said Basinger, a rap artist who performs locally. “I felt horrible walking out of that gym.”
On Tuesday, a city spokeswoman said in a statement that a part-time city employee “acted independently and without supervisor approval” when he removed Basinger from the game.
“The city has taken corrective action to ensure this does not happen in the future,” said Arin Thrower, spokeswoman for the city, adding that “as of right now,” the employee still works for the city. Basinger will be allowed to play in the league again when it starts back up, Thrower said.
Basinger’s mother, Lisa, was at the game and went with her son when the employee called him into a room to say he couldn’t play.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said the outraged mother. “I explained to them that they needed to educate themselves on HIV and that you cannot transmit HIV through spit or casual contact.”
“He’s going through a lot, having just been diagnosed,” Lisa Basinger said.” My wish is that everybody would become educated about the facts and myths of HIV.”