Isiah blasts Magic over criticisms in new book

Isiah had some pretty harsh words for Magic in his new book.

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Sports Illustrated: When he heard the criticisms from his former friend Magic Johnson in a soon-to-be-released book, Isiah Thomas said he’d had enough. And so he began to fight back.

“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.”

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  • Short Dog

    I still dislike Thomas to this day. I remember the wars with these queers. Let the world know whats up Magic. Hall of fame-baby. Lakers Back2back

  • daboss1848

    punk move by Magic

  • Short Dog

    Get your money Magic. Thomas and the pistons get pissed on.

  • blackmindblacksoul

    After reading this article and knowing some things about Magic outside the game, I’ve realized he is not who I think he was growing up.Similar to Shaq is not who he really is when he was playing for the Lakers. Championships are championships and forever will be grateful for all those memories, but this is life. And life is bigger than the game.

    Magic just finally lost another fan since the 80′s. Ill always have love for you because youre a laker and the greatest to ever play the game.However, LIFE IS STILL BIGGER THAN THE GAME. But aye like the person on top of me said, get your money even if you have to sell your soul and shit on your community. However, I dont condone selling out for some crumbs.

  • WifelovesLuke

    “sell your soul and shit on your community”? WTF!! Magic has done so much for the community of LA and for professional sports in general. His book is telling how guys felt back in the late 80′s not right now. For all the kisses and hand slaps they gave each other before games, it still always came down to wanting to beat the crap out of each other on the court. That’s high level competition.

    Ignorance is bliss, huh?

  • k.b.

    No matter how bad Zeke is as a person. Nor if it matters who said was true or not. It’s a very classless act for Magic to go write a book to blast someone, who he once considered as a ‘close friend’. You just don’t do that.

    This brings up the time back in 2004, when Magic talking ish about Kobe in public how he was the main reason the dynasty team fell apart.

    As a laker fan, I’m disappointed in the ‘person’ of Earvin Johnson. (Not the ‘player’ of Magic Johnson)

  • Robert

    Not sure of the purpose of the timing of this book. I suspect it did not focus on Isiah Thomas, but the media picked up on it, and might as well kick a man when he’s down.
    It was clear back in the 90s, that Magic was devastated by the HIV announcement, and the whole affair (heck, we were all upset by all that – and what a way for Magic to retire from the game – at least the first time). For all he knew, there was a possibility that he might not live too long (at that time). So perhaps the ‘unkind’ words and actions by IT stung pretty hard. The fact that they ‘were’ good friends, like brothers perhaps, makes the stinging even worse. Who out there likes it when family causes trouble for you rather than support you unconditionally.
    Anyway, the book is probably more about the whole Lakers/Celtics 80s experience, and maybe a few passages about IT. Unfortunate that it comes out at this time, during this time that IT has been hammered by the media for the past few years.

  • lakerbunny

    I ALWAYS THOUGHT I.T. WAS A USER (AND I THINK ALL OF HIS RECENT TROUBLES ARE A VALIDATION OF THAT), BUT I DON’T LIKE MAGIC THROWING IT OUT THERE IN A BOOK! AS FOR ISIAH’S ASCERTION THAT MAGIC HATED LARRY I DON’T BELIEVE THAT IS TRUE, I HAVE AN AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO OF MAGIC WEARING A CELTICS SHIRT UNDER HIS LAKERS WARM-UP AND JOKINGLY SHOWING IT TO LARRY WHILE TRYING TO HIDE IT FROM EVERYBODY ELSE! THEY HATED EACH OTHER ON THE COURT AND YES THERE WERE LAKER/CELTICS LINES IN THE SAND, BUT I DON’T BELIEVE THEY HATED EACH OTHER OFF THE COURT! I’VE SEEN SEVERAL INTERVIEWS WITH LB &MAGIC WHERE THE TWO OF THEM ARE JOYOUSLY RELIVING THE TWO TEAMS DYNASTY YEARS!

    THERE ARE STILL 212 TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR TOMORROWS OPENER AND 702 TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR FRIDAYS GAME 2 AGAINST DALLAS! GO TO LAKERS.COM AND CLICK ON THE TICKETEXCHANGE BUTTON OR GO TO TEAMEXCHANGE.TICKETMASTER.COM AND CLICK ON LOS ANGELES LAKERS!