Kissing each other on the cheek before the 1988 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons in 1988 and again in 1989 was Magic Johnson's and Isiah Thomas' way of showing love and respect for each other on basketball's biggest stage.
But Magic believing that Isiah spread rumors about his sexuality after Johnson's 1991 HIV announcement — something Johnson shared in the 2009 book "When the Game Was Ours" — badly damaged the Hall of Famers' friendship to the point where they really didn't speak.
But all that changed Tuesday when NBA TV aired its Players Only Monthly special, which had the two hoop legends squashing their long beef, which lasted three decades.
After calling Thomas "my brother," Johnson said, "let me apologize to you if I hurt you, that we haven’t been together, and God is good to bring us back together."
The statement drove both men to tears, as they emotionally embraced. Watch their touching reconciliation below.
Touching to say the least.
The NBA TV special included a November 2009 ESPN clip, where Thomas denied any involvement with spreading rumors about Johnson's sexuality following his HIV announcement.
Nice to see these two Hall of Famers squash their beef and get back to being friends. And the fact that their reconciliation happened during this holiday season makes it all the more special.
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photo from left: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for SportsNet LA, Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)