After decades of having a fractured friendship between them, NBA legends Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas have finally made peace with each other.
The two NBA icons appeared in a special “Players Only Monthly” episode that aired on NBA TV on Tuesday. Sitting face to face from one another, the former dear friends cast their personal differences and emotionally made amends.
“My wife, my mother, my father have been saying y’all need to get back together,” Johnson said to Thomas. “Just to sit across from you and relive those moments of fun, excellence, working hard, dreaming big. Who sits up at 19 or 21 dreaming of stuff we wanted to do and now we are here doing it.”
“You are my brother,” continued Johnson. “Let me apologize if I hurt you, that we haven’t been together and God is good to bring us back together.” The two shook hands as both of them started to tear up and then shared a long hug.
Johnson and Thomas were very close friends since they started in the NBA. Both of them rose up to be NBA superstars, with Johnson being a centerpiece in the Los Angeles Lakers and Thomas leading the bad boys of the Detroit Pistons.
Their careers ultimately collided when their teams met in back to back finals in 1988 and 1989. The Lakers overcome the Pistons in seven games in 1988, which only led to a more exciting series when the Pistons came back, sweeping the Lakers in the finals a year later.
Unfortunately, the clash of their teams also spelled the end for their longtime friendship. Thomas revealed in a previous interview that he and Johnson started to drift apart during the finals of 1988. “It was OK for us to be friends when we weren’t competing with the Lakers, but when we started competing with the Lakers, our friendship changed,” he admitted.
It also didn’t help when Johnson released a memoir in 2009 claiming that Thomas had a hand in spreading false rumors about his sexuality after he was diagnosed with HIV in 1991.