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Isiah Thomas Responds To Michael Jordan’s Controversial Remarks

isiah thomas

Is anyone out there not watching ‘The Last Dance‘? 

If so, you must be living under a huge rock as the 10-part Chicago Bulls documentary is without a doubt, the most compelling show on Netflix right now.

The series, which focuses largely on Michael Jordan and his attempts to help guide the Bulls to their second three-peat of NBA titles.

it has given fans great insight into the competitiveness of Jordan, the eccentrics of Denis Rodman, the unfortunate case of the Scottie Pippen contract, as well as the ongoing behind the scenes struggle between the squad and their general manager, Jerry Krause.

Episodes three and four dropped earlier this week and focused heavily on the Bulls’ first NBA title in 1991 and how they had to overcome two-time champions, the Detroit Pistons.

Lead by coach Chuck Daly and all-time great Isiah Thomas, the Pistons picked up the moniker ‘Bad Boys’ due to their aggressive style of play and often unsportsmanlike conduct on the court.

That unsportsmanlike conduct was never more prevalent in 1991 when the Chicago Bulls swept the back-to-back champions away 4-0 en route to claiming a first-ever championship. After the realization that they had relinquished their title rang true, the Pistons proceeded to walk off the court without shaking hands or congratulating their rivals. It was a move that irked the Bulls and the entire basketball community.

isiah thomas

Thomas featured heavily throughout the lastest two episodes of the documentary and attempted to explain that, had he known their decision to stage a walk-off would still be talked about 30 years later, he wouldn’t have done it.

Jordan is then showed footage of Thomas’ comments to which he responds before watching, “you can show me anything you want. There’s no way you’re not going to convince me he wasn’t an asshole.”

The former Piston has since responded to Jordan’s choice of words to describe him, telling CBS Sports that he was surprised by MJ’s comments.

isiah thomas

“I was definitely surprised,” he says.

“Because we’ve been in each other’s presence before, and I’ve never gotten that type of reaction from him. We were even at dinner a couple of times and he was always pleasant. Always good to my kids. Always good to my son. He even gave my son a pair of gym shoes.

“The competition that we all had on the floor, I truly just thought it was on the floor.”

When asked whether he liked Jordan, the 12-time NBA All-Star insisted that he does like the man and admired him as a basketball player.

“I do. I do. I don’t have anything against him and I definitely admire him as a basketball player,” he says.

” Like I said … I haven’t had any interaction with him that’s been unkind.”

isiah thomas

However, while he may have admiration for Jordan, Thomas obviously doesn’t rate the star as highly as most others.

Before Bill Reiter draws his incredibly intriguing interview with Thomas to a close, he asked him to list the top five players he played against.

The former Detroit Piston listed Jordan as number four, one ahead of Julius Erving [Dr J] but three behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, respectively.

Whilst he isn’t pushed for further explanation, his reasoning can be understood from his earlier comments alluding to the fact that the Chicago Bulls were not successful in the 1980s when Magic’s LA Lakers, Bird’s Boston Celtics, Erving’s Philadelphia 76ers or indeed Thomas’ Detroit Pistons all won titles during what was arguably the NBA’s most competitive decade.

“When you put Jordan and his basketball team in the ’80s, they weren’t a very successful team,” he says.

“They just weren’t. When you talk about Jordan and his team dominating, they dominated the ’90s. But when you put him with those Lakers teams and those Pistons teams and those Celtics teams, they all beat him. They just did.

“What separated Jordan from all of us was he was the first one to three-peat. But he didn’t three-peat against Magic, Larry and Dr J.”

It’s difficult to know whether to take Thomas’ comments at face value as he is known to be a controversial figure who feuded with both Jordan and Magic Johnson throughout his career.

However, while Thomas and his teammates are portrayed as villains in ‘The Last Dance’, the narrative differs from ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary entitled ‘Bad Boys‘ which shows a more sympathetic portrayal of that great Detroit Pistons team.

There are two sides to every story, make this one your next watch.

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