NBA legends Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas have ended one of basketball’s longest-running feuds.
The two famously fell out after two intense NBA Finals and Johnson’s effort to keep Thomas off the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team.
Johnson admits freezing the Detroit Pistons star out of the Olympics. He believed Thomas spread rumors that he was a homosexual.
This following the former Los Angeles Lakers pointguard’s 1991 announcement that he was HIV positive.
‘Let me apologize to you if I hurt you,’ Johnson said to a crying Thomas on NBA TV.
‘That we haven’t been together.’
In 2009 Johnson wrote ‘When the Game Was Ours,’ with Boston Celtics player Larry Bird and NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan.
The three-time MVP accused Thomas of spreading the rumor he was a homosexual or bisexual.
‘Isiah kept questioning people about it,’ Magic said. ‘I couldn’t believe that. The one guy I thought I could count on had all these doubts. It was like he kicked me in the stomach.’
Thomas had previously denied that he spread those rumors.
Despite this, both players were close friends during their rivalry, even after they nearly got into a fight in Game 3 of the 1988 NBA Finals.
‘I would say to you this has been a tremendous day,’ Johnson said.
‘My wife, my mother, my father have been saying, “Y’all need to get back together.” So when everybody called I said no question we’re going to do this.
‘And just to sit across from you and have relieve those moments of fun, excellence, working hard, dreaming big, because we were dreaming … and now here we are doing it. But you are my brother.’
The two hugged and cried.
Johnson said ‘It’s all good baby. OK? It’s all good.’
Thomas replied saying he’ll ‘always be here.’
And in the middle of the embrace, Thomas added, ‘I’m still mad that you beat me.’
Laughing, Johnson said ‘we’re both going to be mad.’
Thomas could not be heard apologizing, but was clearly moved to have Johnson back in his life.
He’s also never admitted to spreading rumors that Johnson was a homosexual.
‘What most people don’t know is, before Magic had HIV, my brother had HIV,” Thomas told Sports Illustrated in 2009.
‘My brother died of HIV, AIDS, drug abuse. So I knew way more about the disease, because I was living with it in my house.”
Thomas’s brother Gregory died five years before his interview with Sports Illustrated.
‘Magic acted and responded off some really bad information that he got,” Thomas continued.
‘Whatever friendship we had, I thought it was bulls*** that he believed that. Let me put it to you this way: If he and I were such close friends, if I was questioning his sexuality, then I was questioning mine too. That’s how idiotic it is.’