Magic Johnson forgives Isiah Thomas in emotional TV segment after longtime feud
The friends turned foes tearfully reconcile in moving embrace
Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas hugged it out on NBA TV after years of feuding.
Back in 1988, the two basketball stars were great friends and even famously exchanged a kiss on the cheek before Game One of the NBA Finals. But by the next year, that friendship had fallen apart.
Johnson admitted to lobbying to keep Thomas off of the “Dream Team” in the 1992 Olympics. He had been carrying a grudge after he claimed Thomas spread rumors about his sexuality when he was diagnosed with HIV before the Olympics.
Thomas denied those rumors.
A tearful apology
But then, on Tuesday, NBA TV aired a segment showing the two men tearfully embracing and reconciling.
“Let me apologize to you,” a visibly emotional Johnson said, “if I hurt you, that we haven’t been together and God is good to bring us back together.”
Thomas stood and embraced Johnson and openly wept. When they hugged it out, Johnson kissed the side of Thomas’ head.
“I know, man,” Johnson said. “It hurt me, too. Come here, man. It’s crazy, it’s one of those things we had to go through, but we’re through it, brother.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 20, 2017
While it’s not clear what led to the reconciliation, Johnson admitted that he had been ignoring friends and family who said it was time for years.
In the video clip, Johnson referenced phone calls that led to the decision, but he didn’t go into detail.
“When everybody called, I said, ‘No question, we’re going to do this,’” Johnson said. “And just to sit across from you and relive those moments of fun, excellence, working hard, dreaming big — ’cause we were dreaming of moments before we were even — who sits up at 19, 20, 21 dreaming of stuff we wanted to do and now here we are doing it.”
Check out the video of the emotional moment below.