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Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas reconcile on NBA TV

After decades of bitterness, the two who were formerly as close as brothers finally mend fences.

A Tribute to Magic Johnson - Arrivals Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images

After a close friendship early in their careers, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson had a number of wedges drive that friendship apart. Most notable was Magic’s bitterness against Thomas because he believed Isiah spread rumors that he was homosexual - a belief that seemed to have considerable merit.

But the two came together on NBA TV with a conversation that ended with tears and a Magic Johnson apology for the ending of the friendship and hurt caused as a result of it.

On Magic’s side of the rift, he was a contributor in the Isiah freeze out of the Dream Team, saying “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.”

Johnson was rather open about the rift, writing about it in his book When the Game Was Ours from 2009. About the talk that Thomas was spreading rumors that Magic was gay, he wrote, “Isiah kept questioning people about it. 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 some hot takes after the book came out, denying everything.

As SB Nation’s Tom Ziller points out, Thomas never seems to acknowledge any role in the falling out and doesn’t actually apologize to Magic - an absence that leaves the whole thing feeling rather hollow. Especially considering Thomas also denied sexually harassing Anucha Browne Sanders, even after a jury determined that he did.

Unfortunately it’s a bad look for Thomas, a pattern of behavior of refusing to take responsibility.

But hey, good for the two of them for hugging things out. Maybe it wasn’t perfectly executed, but relationships rarely are.