A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
No Longer ‘Kissin’ Cousins’
Today, the relationship clearly isn’t anywhere near as close.
Johnson also tells the Web site that he helped play a role in keeping Thomas off the 1992 U.S. Olympic team.
“Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics,” Johnson said, according to SI.com. “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.’”
Thomas, now coaching at FIU in Miami, said he declined a chance to be interviewed for the book. According to its index, he appears on at least 26 pages of the book, which Johnson and Bird wrote with author Jackie MacMullan.
“I’m really hurt, and I really feel taken advantage of for all these years,” Thomas told SI.com. “I’m totally blindsided by this. Every time that I’ve seen Magic, he has been friendly with me.”
FIU had no immediate comment. Thomas’ spokesman said the remarks were accurate. Thomas was scheduled to be available to reporters later Thursday night at an alumni event.
The book comments by Johnson are the latest salvo in a strained relationship, once made famous by the pre-Finals kiss and a pair of crowdpleasing 1-on-1 battles in the final moments of the 1992NBA All-Star game.
“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,” Thomas said.
Thomas also told SI.com that he did not question Johnson’s sexuality, adding that Johnson “acted and responded off some really bad information that he got.”