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When $620,000,000 Worth Magic Johnson’s ‘Big Project’ Picked Up Steam Because of Michael Jordan’s Hatred For Isiah Thomas: “No One Would Be Interested”

Jeet Pukhrambam

When $620,000,000 Worth Magic Johnson's 'Big Project' Picked Up Steam Because of Michael Jordan's Hatred For Isiah Thomas: "No One Would Be Interested"

The 1980s and 1990s were a weird time for basketball. It was a time when ratings were low and the sport’s governing body would do anything to generate money. Lakers superstar Magic Johnson once suggested a 1v1 pay-per-view match between himself and Michael Jordan. Yes, a retired legend worth $620 million once offered to play a pay-per-view game with Jordan! The rich always have ideas to get richer!

But, this idea was not well received by either party at first. Jordan was visibly unexcited by such a prospective game. But when Isiah Thomas from the players association spoke out against the game, Michael had a change of heart.

If there is anyone Michael Jordan truly dislikes, it has to be Isiah Thomas. Their beef is legendary and has lasted for decades. Till today, Isiah is salty about it.

According to the book  Jordan Rules by Sam Smith, it turns out that when Isiah made his statement, it excited Jordan. He assumed interest almost immediately when Thomas was negating it. So what exactly transpired?

Magic Johnson’s brilliant 1v1 idea turned into a playing ground for Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas

So, Magic had the brilliant idea that he and MJ would square off in a 1v1. A big pay-per-view payoff was in the works. Magic had already spoken to partners.

Isiah and the players association were vehemently against it. A stance that sparked something in Michael. Now he suddenly wanted to be in the mix. To disrupt Isiah and to question his authority, he said that the players association, “was supposed to be for the players.”

Moreover, he knew what would anger Thomas. He said, “He wasn’t asked, and do you want to know why? It’s because if he were in it no one would be interested enough to watch.”

Jordan’s line of questioning is quite apparent here. He wanted to rile up Isiah in the best way possible. While the whole ordeal may have been temporary for Jordan, it isn’t quite the same for Thomas.

Thomas still holds an unruly grudge over Jordan

While the 1990s was an essay about Jordan, it also cast a huge shadow on every NBA player to have played in that decade. The biggest one was cast over Isiah.

Thomas was thrown under the bus by his compatriots and he never made an effort to reduce any hatred towards Jordan. He was not afraid to show it. This only helped Jordan get better and use the animosity as fuel. As he dominated the Pistons and sent them into obscurity, he was also erasing Isiah’s greatness.

Not to mention, Thomas, who was already livid about the whole ordeal, did not make things easy for himself. He too talked back, and he still does to this day.

But perhaps, the one thing that would have stung Isiah more is the fact that his closest friend in the league, Magic Johnson grew close to MJ. Spitefully, Thomas might have made some necessary comments about Magic’s HIV diagnosis. Words that put him in a bad light.

Overall, it is clear that even to this day, Thomas in all of his wisdom is still withholding his animus for Jordan. As for the latter, we think he is unbothered and rather busy collecting his multi-million Dollar cheques from Nike.

About the author

Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam


Jeet Pukhrambam is The SportsRush's Lead Editor for Basketball. After freelancing for five years as an independent writer, Jeet created thousands of blog posts and articles. He now covers intriguing news reports and throwback stories on all things NBA. His interest in NBA started with the ascendancy of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2016-17 season. Since then, Jeet has managed to coalesce his knowledge of the game and his writing to create pieces that are reflective of the current state of the league. Now, he ensures that The SportsRush produces the highest quality of writing. In his free time, he enjoys playing football, cooking, traveling, and dancing to techno. Jeet takes pride in his critical thinking, music playlists, and his love for spaghetti.

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