Since Isiah Thomas was left off the 1992 Dream Team, that choice has remained a prominent topic of discussion. Thomas has long come to terms with Michael Jordan not wanting to play with him. However, the former Detroit Pistons great still doesn’t care how Scottie Pippen feels concerning the matter.
Michael Jordan was the reason Isiah Thomas didn’t play for the 1992 Olympic Dream Team
In the two-plus decades since the legendary 1992 Olympic Dream team played, the conversation lingers concerning Thomas’ absence from the roster.
The iconic collection of talent featured Hall of Famers Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, and college standout Christian Laettner. Meanwhile, Detroit Pistons head coach Chuck Daly led the group.
It was long believed Jordan’s hatred toward Thomas, stemming from the Bad Boys Pistons teams physically roughing him up on the court, was the reason behind the move. The former Chicago Bulls great never publicly aired that sentiment, but a tape released last year revealed him stating he didn’t want the Hall of Fame point guard on the team.
“Rod Thorn [chairman of the Olympic team selection committee and the Chicago Bulls’ former general manager] called me,” Jordan said in a snippet from the Dream Team Tapes podcast with Jack McCallum, via The Washington Post. “I said, ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.’ He assured me. He said: ‘You know what? Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So Isiah is not going to be part of the team.’”
Thomas has since grown to accept that, but he still doesn’t care about how Pippen feels toward him.
Isiah Thomas couldn’t care less if Scottie Pippen wanted him on the 1992 Dream Team: ‘Man, come on. You can’t say nothing.’
Over the last two-plus decades, Pippen and Thomas have held a longstanding beef that has remained long after their respective Hall of Fame careers.
The fractured relationship bled over into the NBA TV documentary about the 1992 Dream Team, which discussed Thomas’ absence from the squad. The reasoning for the move came down to Jordan‘s disdain toward his longtime colleague.
In the Dream Team documentary, though, Pippen stated that he didn’t want to have Thomas on the roster.
“I can’t speak for Michael, but I did not want to play with Isiah,” Pippen said.
Those strong comments from the six-time NBA champion made their way around to Thomas, who fired back during an NBA TV Open Court episode, voicing he didn’t care about Pippen’s stance.
“I don’t mind Michael Jordan saying, ‘I didn’t want Isiah to be on the Dream Team,’” Thomas said. “I don’t mind if Larry Bird said, ‘I don’t want Isiah to be on the Dream Team.’ But if Scottie Pippen says, ‘I don’t want Isiah to be on the Dream team’? Man, come on. You can’t say nothing.”
“If Jordan is like, ‘I’m not playing if Isiah is playing,’ then I’m like, ‘Aight,’ But Scottie Pippen, man, go to the park.”
Thomas holds the utmost respect for Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird and remains fine if they didn’t want him on the 1992 Dream Team, but that certainly doesn’t extend to Pippen.
“I got no problems with the greatest player saying he doesn’t want to play with me or Magic saying he doesn’t,” Thomas added. “But anybody below them, come on.”
Disdain will always remain between Isiah Thomas and Scottie Pippen
The hatred from Pippen remains intensely strong nearly three decades later.
The fierce physical battles between the Pistons and Bulls cemented the Hall of Fame forward’s feelings toward Thomas. He’s repeatedly bashed the fellow Hall of Famer on various occasions in interviews, and that won’t change.
If Jordan still strongly dislikes the former Pistons guard, it likely will stay the course for Pippen.