“Michael Jordan was Delighted”: Magic Johnson Favoring Bulls Superstar Infuriated Isiah Thomas During 1990 Charity All-Star Game

Back in 1990, Magic Johnson hosted what many would consider, a better version of the All-Star game. The charity basketball event had a plethora of All-Stars in the league playing, with the likes of Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan being on the roster.

The event which was called Midsummer Night’s Magic was an event, which took place during the off-season, the same time that players engaged in other hobbies and spent time with their families.

Jordan, who was looking to win his first Championship, was already the young face of the league. Johnson remained the most popular, but Jordan wasn’t too far behind. But in true Jordan fashion, MJ would arrive late to the event, the reason being – ‘golf’.

Jordan who is known for his obsession with golf, was sure to finish his game at the course, before driving down to the venue. Well, the logical decision would be to start the game without Jordan, but Magic had different plans. Talking about it in the book When the Game Was Ours, the author recalled,

“Rather than start the event without the star of the league, Johnson had decided to delay it to give Jordan time to be there for tip-off, which reportedly infuriated Isiah Thomas. Jordan was delighted that he had inconvenienced his nemesis.”

It’s understandable as to why Jordan would feel delighted at Isaiah’s misery. Isaiah and the Pistons were back-to-back Champions in ’89 and ’90. They not only stopped the Bulls from making the finals but gave Jordan a good beating while doing so. Being the competitor that Jordan was, he relished in Isaiah’s misery, as MJ had one thing Isiah didn’t, ‘ the love and admiration of the public.’

Isiah Thomas stops the best 1v1 in NBA history

"Michael Jordan was Delighted": Magic Johnson Favoring Bulls Superstar Infuriated Isiah Thomas During 1990 Charity All-Star Game

Isiah Thomas hated Jordan, and it was no secret. Thomas always felt like he got cheated out of his popularity and fame by Jodan, as even after winning back-to-back finals MVPs, Jordan stayed the talk of the town. Both Johnson and Jordan topped popularity rankings, even as the Pistons whipped the floor with the Bulls and Lakers.

During the same time, Jordan and Magic were set to play a 1v1 match against each other, something that would be a spectacle for its time. But unfortunately for everyone involved, Isiah would step in and convince the NBA to scrap the idea.

Being the head of the Players Association, Isiah went out of his way to ensure the event never took place, something that infuriated Jordan. Jordan would later comment on Isaiah’s actions in the book Michael Jordan: The Life. Writing about the situation, Ronald Lazenby wrote,

“ Jordan lashed out at Thomas’s intervention, charging that the Detroit guard was jealous because no one would pay to see him play.”

Isiah would prevent Jordan from taking the spotlight, but this action of Isiah wouldn’t go without retaliation. Two years later, Isiah Thomas didn’t make it onto the USA Men’s Olympics team and many believe it was Jordan who had a say in the decision. The honour of playing for his country would be something that Thomas would miss out on, even though he was rightfully deserving of it.


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