Bad blood between two of the NBA's most celebrated athletes has turned into a public feud. In his soon-to-be-released book, basketball legend Magic Johnson paints a disparaging picture of one-time friend Isiah Thomas. Johnson, who is HIV positive, accused Thomas of forcing his retirement at age 32 by spreading rumors he was gay:
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.An outraged Thomas is now looking to set the record straight. In a Sports Illustrated interview, Thomas refutes a slew of claims made about him and other players in the book. Overall, Thomas says the book is a hurtful and sleazy attempt to sell books:
"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? You're talking about being two-faced? ...He's been the one stabbing me in the back... I'm really hurt and disappointed.First out of the gate for commentary on the feud is dejected basketball fan Dashiell Bennett at Deadspin:
Whoever you believe, it's pretty clear from this sordid tale—and Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame speech, among other incidents—that pretty much every superstar you idolized as a kid is a selfish, insecure, backstabbing prick. Of course, that's also why they were all such awesome basketball players.