It’s the grudge that won’t go away.
Twenty-eight years after the Dream Team won the gold medal in men’s basketball at the 1992 Summer Olympics and six months after Michael Jordan roasted Isiah Thomas in “The Last Dance” documentary, Thomas is still surprised and hurt by Jordan’s role in his exclusion from a roster of the NBA’s biggest stars.
“I watched it with great fascination and I watched it with great disappointment,” Thomas said of “The Last Dance” on Club Shay Shay, a podcast hosted by former NFL star Shannon Sharpe.
It seems Thomas was the last to realize Jordan’s true feelings.
The Jordan-Thomas feud dates to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the on-the-rise Chicago Bulls finally got over a hump by beating Thomas’ fading Detroit Pistons in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons walked off the court without shaking hands at the end of the final game.
Jordan – then the best player in the world – is said to have iced out Thomas from the Dream Team by saying he wouldn’t join if Thomas was included. Pistons coach Chuck Daly went with Jordan over Thomas.
Jordan is infamous for his grudges and it doesn’t seem like he has let this one go almost three decades ago.
“We won’t dance around it here,” Thomas told Sharpe. “It seemed like there was only one person who had a problem with it and that was Jordan. At that time, I didn’t realize – and even until I watched ‘The Last Dance’ – I didn’t realize that he felt the way he felt about me. I had never had no bad words with him.”
Thomas explained in “The Last Dance” that the Boston Celtics gave the same no-handshake treatment to the Pistons when they climbed that hump. So, that’s just the way it was. Jordan isn’t buying it.
“I know it’s all bullsh–,” Jordan said in the documentary that he produced. “Whatever he says now, you know it wasn’t his true actions then. He has time left to think about it, or the reaction from the public has changed his perspective. You can show me anything you want. There’s no way you can convince me he wasn’t an a–hole.”
Thomas got in a jab at MJ with Sharpe.
“Head-to-head, I was dominant over him when our teams met,” Thomas said. “Until ’91 when I basically had career-ending wrist surgery, my record against him and his team, it really wasn’t competition. … My focus was [Larry] Bird, Magic [Johnson], Dr. J [Julius Erving], Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Those were the guys.”
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