The Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were a dominant force in the NBA. ‘Showtime’ won five championships and made eight Finals appearances in the decade.
The final two of those came against a young, upstart Detroit Pistons team led by Isiah Thomas. The two sides met in 1988 and 1989, with the Lakers edging out a hard-fought seven game series before the Pistons swept the injury-struck Lakers the following year.
One interesting wrinkle between the two sides was the well known friendship between Magic and Thomas. The two were extremely close and would always share a kiss before each game, but the two would eventually have a falling out in later years.
However, NBA TV brought Johnson and Thomas together to bury the hatchet, among other things. The two also reminisced about their battles in the NBA Finals, particularly in 1988 where Magic turned up the intensity between them:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 20, 2017
It is interesting see Magic and Isiah talk about the moment that things changed between them. As Isiah said, Magic had to make a choice between the Lakers and their friendship and his shot at Thomas made it clear what that decision was.
The Lakers and Pistons had some serious battles with both sides doing whatever it took to win. Though it did have an effect on their friendship, it was great to see Magic and Thomas be able to come together and talk so fondly about their memories.
Two of the greatest point guards in the history of the NBA, Magic and Thomas had a rivalry that doesn’t get talked about as much as others, but was just as fierce as any.
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