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Giaps
10-22-2009, 01:58 PM
Gotta side with Isiah on this one and I'm a Knicks fan...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/ian_thomsen/10/22/isiah.magic/index.html

"I'm really hurt, and I really feel taken advantage of for all these years,'' said Thomas, the Hall of Fame point guard and former NBA coach and executive, most recently with the Knicks. "I'm totally blindsided by this. Every time that I've seen Magic, he has been friendly with me. Whenever he came to a Knick game, he was standing in the tunnel [to the locker room] with me. He and [Knicks assistant coach] Herb [Williams] and I, we would go out to dinner in New York. I didn't know he felt this way.''

The criticisms are made by Johnson in When The Game Was Ours, which he co-wrote with Larry Bird and author Jackie MacMullan. The book, to be released on Nov. 4, tells the inside story of the most important rivalry in basketball history.

Much of their story involves Thomas, who as captain of the Detroit Pistons served as a primary threat to the championship ambitions of Bird's Celtics and Magic's Lakers. The book offers revelations that have stunned Thomas. Magic addresses years of rumors by finally accusing Thomas of questioning his sexuality after Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. Magic also admits that he joined with Michael Jordan and other players in blackballing Thomas from the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, saying, "Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him. ... Michael 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.''

"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 Michael Jordan take the blame for it all these years,'' Thomas responded during one of several interviews he gave to SI.com on Wednesday. "I wish he would have had 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.''

Thomas, who is the first-year coach at Florida International in Miami, confirmed that MacMullan attempted to reach him for comment six months ago, but he declined through his publicist to speak with her.

Magic's most shocking accusation, however, is that Thomas was responsible for spreading rumors that Johnson was gay or bisexual after Johnson tested positive for HIV, forcing his retirement at age 32. "Isiah kept questioning people about it,'' Magic says. "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 vehemently denied that he had gossiped behind Magic's back, pointing out that he knew better than to engage in such hurtful talk.

"What most people don't know is, before Magic had HIV, my brother had HIV,'' Thomas said. "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.''

His brother, Gregory Thomas, died five years ago, Isiah said.

"Magic acted and responded off some really bad information that he got,'' Thomas went on. "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.''

The book's main source for this allegation is Magic's longtime agent, Lon Rosen, who says Thomas told him in 1991, "I keep hearing Magic is gay.''

"C'mon, Isiah, you know Earvin better than anyone,'' Rosen replies.

"I know,'' Thomas answers, "but I don't know what he's doing when he's out there in L.A.''

On Wednesday, Thomas denied that conversation. "I don't know Lon like that,'' he said, adding that he reached out to Johnson at the time. "I remember calling Magic and saying [of the allegations that he was rumor-mongering], 'You know that's some bulls---.' ''

Magic declined to be interviewed for this story. Rosen, speaking on behalf of his client, said he and Magic stand by everything attributed to them in the book.

Thomas insisted he felt too much sympathy for Magic to be spreading rumors about him.

"I felt awful for him; I felt awful for everybody,'' Thomas said. "But I knew enough at that time that he didn't have to retire. The 'blood' thing we do in the NBA -- where we stop the game because of blood on somebody's shirt and all that ceremonious stuff -- we're not stopping HIV/AIDS that way. We still do it out of some insane fear that came about when Karl Malone and everybody was saying they weren't playing if Magic was playing.''

Instead, Thomas said he helped make it possible for Magic to return in 1992 to the All-Star Game.

"They weren't going to let Magic play in the All-Star Game; all the players were coming out [against him],'' Thomas said. "You know how that all got turned around? I had a meeting with all of the players -- because I was president of the players' association -- and I told them not only was he going to play, but we were going to shake his hand and give him a hug. And I was the first to shake his hand and hug him and give him a kiss, to let people know that's not how the virus is spread.

"And you can go back and check at the players' association. Call Charlie Grantham [the former union executive director and COO] and ask him how Magic got to play in the All-Star Game. Ask him who called the meeting.''

When The Game Was Ours credits NBA commissioner David Stern with inviting Johnson to play in the All-Star Game, despite objections from some players and owners. The book does acknowledge, however, that Thomas was the first player to embrace Johnson on the court before the game.

"I don't discriminate," Thomas said. "I don't believe any race or ethnic group or social group should be discriminated against, because I have been discrimated against, and I know it would be wrong for me to discriminate.

"I think Magic has been misled on a lot of things, and unfortunately this has been another one of them. I am hurt and disappointed that he has chosen to believe others as opposed to his closest friends. And I think you can go back and look in that era and see who his closest friends were, and who his closest friends are now. At that time, I don't consider Lon Rosen to be one of his closest friends; he was one of his business advisers making money off him.''

According to the book, Magic at one time considered Thomas to be his closest friend in the league. Magic says their relationship changed during the 1988 Finals when -- in retaliation for the physical play of Isiah's Pistons teammates -- he clobbered Thomas as Detroit's captain was driving through the lane.

"When we got to the ['88] Finals, our relationship became very different,'' Thomas acknowledged. "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. I remember my son was born in '88 during the NBA Finals and Magic wouldn't even come to the hospital.

"So who kicked who? I'm sick and tired of being punched and people spinning stuff. You remember in Game 5 when Magic gave me a forearm shiver while I was in the air? I got up and pushed him, and what everybody wrote was that Isiah pushed Magic [to start the incident].''

After Thomas suffered a severe ankle sprain in Game 6 of that series -- he set an NBA Finals record with 25 points in the third quarter despite the injury -- the Lakers refused to let him use their training facilities, he said. "I tried calling Magic on the phone and he wouldn't take my phone calls,'' said Thomas, who got help from an unlikely source, the Los Angeles Raiders.

"Al [Davis, the Raiders' owner] called Chuck [Daly, the Pistons' coach] because they were close, and he said, 'Screw the Lakers, you can come and use our facilities.' I had to get treatment at the Raiders' facility because Magic and the Lakers wouldn't let me use their ultrasound, hot tubs and whirlpools. I tried calling him to see if he could talk to the trainer, and he wouldn't pick up the phone.''

Magic admits in the book that his relationship with Jordan was permanently chilled by allegations that he was involved in a plan to keep the ball away from Jordan and freeze him out as a rookie in the 1985 All-Star Game at Indianapolis. But Magic is adamant that he had nothing to do it, which effectively leaves Thomas stranded as the engineer of the alleged plot.

Thomas has long denied that he had anything to do with the anti-Jordan conspiracy while doubting that it ever happened.

"The whole thing is so absurd,'' Thomas said. "If Sports Illustrated would just review the game -- get a tape and watch that game and tell me where I was supposed to be freezing out Michael Jordan.''

If Jordan didn't receive a lot of passes -- he scored seven points while attempting nine shots in 22 minutes -- then it was because the team had other priorities, according to Thomas.

"I know people think that Michael Jordan is the best player now, but at that time, he wasn't the best player,'' Thomas said. "At that time, we were better than he was. It's not like he got the rookie treatment. Somebody is going to tell me I'm not going to [pass to] Bird and Moses [Malone] and Dr. J [Julius Erving]? It was a big thing, me playing an All-Star Game in Indiana. I went to school there. Larry Bird went to school there; he was from there. I'm sorry David Falk [Jordan's agent] didn't like that.''

Interestingly, Bird has nothing bad to say about Isiah in the book, even though at one time Thomas was accused of saying that Bird was overrated because he was white. Bird, who is now president of the Indiana Pacers, fired Thomas as coach in 2003.

"Let's be real. I'm not going to say the things Magic said in private about Larry, but I do know the public stance he's taken [in becoming Bird's friend]," Thomas said. I know that's not how he felt about Larry Bird. Magic hated Larry, and he tried to make other people hate Larry. Magic was no friend of Larry Bird's during that time. And his Laker teammates will tell you that. And I'm sure they've got to be disgusted with the way he's carried on with this whole me-and-Larry bull.''

But that's another twist, as reported in detail by When The Game Was Ours: that the sport's most famous rivals -- Magic and Bird, who once considered each other enemies -- have grown to be friends, while the opposite has become of the relationship between Magic and Thomas, who famously greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek before each game of the '88 Finals, even as their friendship was souring.

The book tells the story of how Thomas and Mark Aguirre consoled Magic in his Boston hotel room as he stared out the window watching fans celebrating in the street after the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals. Three years later in the same city, Thomas threw away Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals when Bird intercepted his inbounds pass and converted the steal to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup. When told that Magic now recalls engaging in an hours-long soul-searching conversation with him after that horrible loss, Thomas sounded skeptical. After a long pause, he said, "Sure. That could have been possible.

"The guy who reached out to me after that play was a Celtic and it was Bill Russell,'' added Thomas, who took the call from Russell the day after the game. "I was down dead on my knees after that play. He just called me up and said, 'Hey, we all make the mistakes, you've got to keep playing.' And he said it the way only he could say it. You know who else reached out to me? M.L. Carr [a former Boston teammate of Bird's]. For as hard as we played against the Celtics, I think we had a very personal relationship with them. They admired that we were trying to be like them. And we all said, to this day, they were the team that taught us, and everything the Pistons were, we took from their playbook.''

Thomas also disagreed with Magic's assertion that he helped persuade Madison Square Garden Sports president Steve Mills to hire Thomas to run the Knicks in 2003.

"It's so hypocritical,'' said Thomas, who was replaced by current Knicks president Donnie Walsh in 2008. "There's this public person and then there's this b.s. person. There's Earvin and then there's Magic. OK, I understand you've got to sell a book. But if this is how you sell it, then who's kicking who in the stomach? And it's just like the line he perpetuated that he got me the Knicks' job. Oh, yeah? Ask [Knicks owner] Jim Dolan. Call Barry Watkins [the Knicks' senior VP]. That's a lie.

"You're talking about being two-faced? Magic says he put me up for the job, that he was showing up in hard times and telling me everything was OK. And I come to find out he's been the one stabbing me in the back. ... I'm really hurt and disappointed, particularly with the Olympic team, if he was doing that stuff.''

Thomas said Magic has never confronted him about the HIV rumors or his true feelings about their relationship. As recently as August, Thomas attended a charity event in Beverly Hills, Calif., honoring Magic, where he said they greeted each other warmly.

"If he was feeling this way, why was he shaking my hand and kissing me and acting like he and I were such buddies?'' Thomas said. "Why do you do that?

"People who know me and my family and what I stand for will laugh at Magic and his beliefs. I'm tired of getting punched and people using me because they think I'm not going to say anything. Those days are over. Game on.''

Gibby23
10-22-2009, 02:14 PM
Im with Thomas on this one. Why not take care of this 15 years ago instead of pretending to like the guy and then write a book about how you don't like the guy.

CityofTreez
10-22-2009, 02:28 PM
Wow, this is a crazy story!

I, for once, side with Isiah Thomas on this back-stbbing by Magic Johnson! I never liked Thomas, but this guy never seemed to rub me this wrong, I think Magic or Earvin could not even sway me on my perception of Isaiah Thomas.

That blackballing incident in the Olympics is rotten, extremly uncalled for!

Missing56&33
10-22-2009, 02:30 PM
Going back to the 87' playoffs Detroit vs Boston game 7 when Isiah made the comment about Larry Bird being over hyped because he was white. Had LB been black he wouldn't get that much attention. Sometimes its best to keep you freakin mouth shut. If it wasn't for the stupid pass that led to the DJ layup the Piston would have won the series. Isiah has a chip on his shoulder. I cant except failure. Larry Bird didn't give up on the game, because he is a competitor, Isiah thought it was over, it had nothing to do with race.

Ok you beat MJ year after year and when he and his Bulls finally get over the hump and beat your Pistons, you to good to shake the man hand, or any of his team mates????
Chuck Daily knew what he was going to do and advised him not to that he would regret it....so he shouldn't have been surprised about not being apart of the original dream team.

Isiah and Magic been kissing each other before games for a long time but when Magic contracted the HIV virus, Isiah stopped kissing the guy. I dont fault Isiah for doing that but I can see Isiah attempting to take the focus off of him being called gay because of how the two use to kiss before games by questioning Magic's sexuality. Isiah treated Magic like a stranger in the 92' all star game shortly after Magic retired. I saw it and thought that was cold of him to do that.

Isiah was a great player but its plain to see that he can be a arrogant individual and self absorbed at times. I think he is a caring person and has a good heart but he will do whatever it takes to make himself look like the good guy in a bad situation.

Do I think he was blackballed??? Yes I do, was it right??? Prolly not but when your peers succeed you have to show them some respect and sportsmanship just like they did for you when your Pistons won.

The Knicks job....I almost have to say he never really had a chance to succeed there, if you have no respect throughout the league its hard to deal. Many GM are the same players he disrespected during his playing days. KG to the Celtics.... Shaq to the Cavs...thats how you become a successfull GM, that wasn't going to happen for Isiah.

Its Magic's book so he can write what he wants to and IMO he is only reveling how he truly feels and again Isiah is offended. :pity:

Wilson
10-22-2009, 02:42 PM
This depresses me...although this is only Isiah's side of things. Hopefull Magic's side makes sense...

D Roses Bulls
10-22-2009, 02:44 PM
Gotta side with Isiah on this one and I'm a Knicks fan...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/ian_thomsen/10/22/isiah.magic/index.html

i could never stand thomas. i thought he was a punk who talked too much. he deserved everything he got in being black balled by jordan and such. sometimes things take longer to come out, but im glad it did.

Lakersfan2483
10-22-2009, 02:58 PM
It's very dissapointing to hear about this as I was under the impression that both Magic and Isaiah were very close friends. If what Isaiah is saying is true, I am dissapointed that Magic would bash him just to sell a book. Magic is well-established as a business man and definitely doesn't need the extra money. Overall, I am shocked that all of this is taking place. Why wait for 20 yrs to reveal all of this info and without letting Thomas know about it? Strange.

BoltLakerPadre
10-22-2009, 03:47 PM
Isiah is known as a level headed, nice guy, so I guess I believe him. After all, he is in good standing with NBA type people...wait, what's that? Isiah is a jerk? And was fired, and can't get work in the NBA, and the entire '92 Dream Team (aka the best players ever to play the game) didn't want him around?

How can you say you don't spread rumors when he is trying to say Magic talked crap about Bird, and tried to convince people to hate Bird? How was that relevant? He's just trying to besmirch Magic's good name. Unfortunately for Isiah he has a long history of being an unlikeable person, while Magic is well loved, and very publicly saved the NBA with his rival turned friend Bird.

Just go away Isiah, go to Florida International, coach your team, and stop whining because people don't want you around.

cHi8DaL5LA420
10-22-2009, 04:00 PM
crazy lol... isaiah thomas is just not a likeable guy

albertc86
10-22-2009, 04:19 PM
Man, this isn't a feud. I've heard this story before. But, I heard MJ was the one that didn't want Thomas on the team. I read this a few years ago. Kareem wasn't the most liked guy on the Lakers either... Wonder why he hasn't had a real coaching gig yet? Coaching Bynum doesn't count.

JordansBulls
10-22-2009, 04:23 PM
It's very dissapointing to hear about this as I was under the impression that both Magic and Isaiah were very close friends. If what Isaiah is saying is true, I am dissapointed that Magic would bash him just to sell a book. Magic is well-established as a business man and definitely doesn't need the extra money. Overall, I am shocked that all of this is taking place. Why wait for 20 yrs to reveal all of this info and without letting Thomas know about it? Strange.

Pretty much agree with this. Is Magic going broke or something?

abe_froman
10-22-2009, 04:26 PM
Man, this isn't a feud. I've heard this story before. But, I heard MJ was the one that didn't want Thomas on the team. I read this a few years ago. Kareem wasn't the most liked guy on the Lakers either... Wonder why he hasn't had a real coaching gig yet? Coaching Bynum doesn't count.

he was,just everyone agreed with mj

Wilson
10-22-2009, 04:28 PM
Man, this isn't a feud. I've heard this story before. But, I heard MJ was the one that didn't want Thomas on the team. I read this a few years ago. Kareem wasn't the most liked guy on the Lakers either... Wonder why he hasn't had a real coaching gig yet? Coaching Bynum doesn't count.

I've heard that before. It sucked when I learnt that Kareem and Magic never really got along off the court.

Why must we have this media which refuses to let us idealise our athletes?

:sigh:/:p

Hellcrooner
10-22-2009, 05:06 PM
thomas opened the battle caling magic homosexual when the vih was revealead.

assume that was said in disgust for being left out ot dream team.


and OF COURSE Pippen would back up the blackmaill since THomas making it woudl ahve meant him going out.

im still pissed JOrdan forced team usa to accept him over Dumars, Worty, Wilkins etc etc etc he was on his 4th season for gods sake.

MTar786
10-22-2009, 05:46 PM
i actually believe isiah and im a lakers fan.

RaiderLakersA's
10-22-2009, 07:56 PM
I may side with Isaiah on this, but it all sounds like a bunch of drunk old men crying in their beers at this point.

And can I just add, this article was worth reading for this alone...


After Thomas suffered a severe ankle sprain in Game 6 of that series -- he set an NBA Finals record with 25 points in the third quarter despite the injury -- the Lakers refused to let him use their training facilities, he said. "I tried calling Magic on the phone and he wouldn't take my phone calls,'' said Thomas, who got help from an unlikely source, the Los Angeles Raiders.

"Al [Davis, the Raiders' owner] called Chuck [Daly, the Pistons' coach] because they were close, and he said, 'Screw the Lakers, you can come and use our facilities.' I had to get treatment at the Raiders' facility because Magic and the Lakers wouldn't let me use their ultrasound, hot tubs and whirlpools. I tried calling him to see if he could talk to the trainer, and he wouldn't pick up the phone.''

I feel so conflicted! Ha ha ha

Missing56&33
10-22-2009, 08:55 PM
^^^^^Why would the Lakers let Isiah use their facilities to heal? So he can drop 30 pts in the third in game 7 and win the series? Magic is a competitor. If Isiah want to heal let him go a health club.

bagwell368
10-22-2009, 09:38 PM
I knew that friggin' disgusting kissy pooh thing they did was phoney. Ugh!

Kakaroach
10-22-2009, 09:40 PM
Like many of the people here have said, I think this is just sad. Why are two of one of the best players ever at their respective positions feel the need to go at it at this stage in life? Just kiss (no pun intended) and make-up already. It would be better for the NBA if this just went away.