Isiah Thomas Opens Up About His Relationship With Magic Johnson

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In VIBE’s December 2010/January 2011 issue featuring T.I. on the cover, former basketball player and basketball coach Isiah Lord Thomas discussed the questioning of his friend Magic Johnson’s sexuality after he announced he was HIV-positive. Check out what he said below.

Your former close friend Magic made some harsh comments about you in his and Larry Bird’s book When the Game Was Ours. Among other things, he claimed that you questioned his sexuality after he announced he was HIV positive in 1991. What’s the current status of your relationship?

Since the book came out, I haven’t spoken with him. I guess the best way to describe it is two African-American brothers that are having a big-time disagreement. But as a Black man, I refuse to engage in a public fight with him. He may choose not to be a friend to me anymore, but I will always be a friend to him. My disappointment is, as a friend, he chose to believe something someone else said over me. Now, we find ourselves in this situation. But I understand our place as successful African-American men, and I refuse to let others exploit it.

Magic also admitted that he essentially worked with other players, Jordan among them, to blackball you from the ’92 Dream Team. Thoughts?
Well, obviously his handiwork went a long way. [Laughs.] What bothers me is I never knew he felt that way. Since the time he talks about, I’ve spent plenty of time with Magic. We’ve gone to dinner and on vacation together, and he’s taken pictures with my family. He never said a word.

Is there a chance for reconciliation?

I’ll always consider him a friend. I’m a real friend, a loyal person. -Glenn Minnis