When basketball legend, Magic Johnson, released his 2009 memoir, co-written with Larry Bird and ESPN analyst Jackie MacMullan, he nearly dismissed the possibility of reconciliation with his former friend and longer-time rival, Isiah Thomas.
Johnson and Thomas joked and fought their way through the 1988 NBA Finals, which Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers won in seven games. They famously exchanged a peck on the cheek before the start of Game 1.
By the end of the 1989 Finals, which Thomas’s Detroit Pistons swept, they were friends no more. When Thomas was on the outside looking in at a roster spot on the “Dream Team” in the 1992 Olympics, Johnson admitted he lobbied to keep the all-star guard off the squad.
He claimed Thomas had spread rumors about his sexuality after his pre-Olympics HIV diagnosis. Thomas denied the accusation, but the two Hall of Famers remained at odds for years.
No longer. In an NBA TV segment on Tuesday, Johnson offered an apology, and Thomas tearfully accepted.