Magic vs Isiah (again)

It was all good just a week ago...

Or at least he thought it was.

Isiah Thomas probably knew that things weren't where they needed to be but he probably considered Magic Johnson to be his friend. He found out last we (along with the rest of us) that Magic Johnson was writing a tell-all book that would paint a different view of their friendship. From afar, we all assumed that they were cool.

If you watched hoops in the 80s like me, you saw Magic and Isiah battle each other during the NBA Finals. You saw them give each other a "pregame kiss"...a peck on the cheek at mid court before the start of the game as a testament to their friendship. You saw Isiah nearly in tears in '91 when Magic announced that he was retiring from basketball after being diagnosed as HIV positive.
The book, When the Game Was Ours, is co-written by Larry Bird and author Jackie Macallum. The book details one of the greatest rivalries in sports between Magic and Bird. The book also talks about how Thomas' Piston team served as threat to Magic's Lakers and Bird's Celtics.
In the book, Magic addresses rumors of Isiah questiontioning Magic's sexuality following the discovery of his HIV status in '91. Magic also admits that he lead a group of players that blackballed Isiah Thomas from making the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.

"Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him...Michael Jordan didn't want to play with him. Scottie [Pippen] wanted no part of him. Bird wasn't pushing for him. Karl Malone didn't want him. Who was saying, 'We need this guy?' Nobody."

This was a shocker. For years, we assumed that it was Michael Jordan that kept Thomas off the team. The revelation stunned Thomas.

"I'm glad that he's finally had the nerve and the courage to stand up and say it was him, as opposed to letting Jordan take the blame for all these years. I wish he would have the courage to say this stuff to me face to face, as opposed to writing it in some damn book to sell and he can make money off it."

Magic's biggest and shocking revelation is that it was Thomas who gossiped behind Magic's back and spread rumors that Magic was gay or bisexual after Magic tested HIV positive. Isiah vehemently denies the accusations. He noted that would never been that insensitive. Isiah's brother, Gregory Thomas, had HIV before Magic did. He died 5 yrs ago. It has been reported that Isiah openly questioned Magic's sexuality to Magic's agent, Lon Rosen. Thomas denies the claim.
The two basketball Hall of Famers were once great friends but that is no longer the case.

"I'm really hurt, and I really feel taken advantage of for all these years. I'm totally blindsided by this. Every time that I've seen Magic, he has been friendly with me. When he would come to New York, we would go to dinner."

I think there's a lot that we don't know. Magic has a story. Isiah has a story. And then there is the truth...and we may never know the truth.


clnmike said...

I got to say this was a punk move by Magic, very disappointed by him. 1st If it was that serious he should have said something to Thomas a long time ago face to face. 2nd there was no excuse for leaving Thomas off the dream team, that was a punk move by the whole team. These dudes are acting like high schoolers.

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