Summer 2024

Magic Johnson asks for forgiveness, reconciles with Isiah Thomas

Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas are legends. One grew up in Michigan, the other in Chicago. Both went on to Hall of Fame careers and won multiple NBA championships. They were best friends for many years during their basketball career. And then something happened. After meeting in the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons in 1988 and 1989, their relationship seemed to be over.

In 1992, Magic famously helped keep Isiah off the 1992 Dream Team, a team that Thomas was clearly good enough to be on and should have been on.

Johnson admitted he helped keep Thomas off the Dream Team in part because he says Isiah spread rumors that he was bisexual or gay after Magic contracted HIV in 1991.

It was messy.  It was ugly. It didn’t seem like reconciliation was possible.

But then an amazing thing took place recently when the two reunited in a special that aired Tuesday Night on NBATV.


“My wife, my mother, my father saying you all need to get back together,” Magic said. “So when everybody called, I said no question we’re going to do this.”

As Isiah sat and listened, he began to get emotional as Magic continued to share his feelings.

“You are my brother,” Magic said to Isiah. “Let me apologize to you. If I hurt you. That we haven’t been together. God is good to bring us back together.”

The two embraced in a long hug, both emotional and tearful. It was a wonderful moment for two of the greatest to ever play the game.

“I’ll always be here,” Isiah said.

Magic responded as always the competitor that he is. “And I’m still mad that you beat me.”

Both laughed and embraced one last time.

In Ephesians 4:31-32, Paul says we are to forgive as Christ forgave us. Magic and Isiah have finally done that and are once again, brothers.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32