Former Detroit Pistons star point guard Isiah Thomas is heralded as one of the NBA’s greatest players. Thomas guided the Pistons to tremendous sustained success that fueled his illustrious legacy. It led him to voice a bold stance regarding his place in league history.
Isiah Thomas’ illustrious NBA career
Thomas spent his entire 13-year career with the Pistons, becoming one of the greatest players in league history.
The Indiana product quickly became the franchise-changing talent in Detroit that elevated the team to sustained success through much of the 1980s. He earned two championships and a Finals MVP award, received 12 All-Star selections, and garnered three All-NBA First Team nods and two All-NBA Second Team nominations.
Thomas headlined the Bad Boys Pistons, leading the franchise to nine straight playoff appearances, including three Central division titles and back-to-back championships. His career came to an abrupt end after he tore his Achilles tendon in April 1994. He retired as one of four players alongside Magic Johnson, Oscar Robinson, and John Stockton to record 9,000 assists.
He entered retirement as the all-time franchise leader with 18,822 points, 9,061 assists, 1,861 steals, and 979 games played. Thomas remains regarded as one of the greatest point guards behind his passing and all-around talents.
Before the 2021-22 season, Thomas took to social to air a firm stance about his place in league history.
Isiah Thomas delivers unfiltered bold stance about his place in NBA history: ‘Only player to win back-to-back championships without a top-50 teammate’
Thomas was the face of the Pistons throughout much of his career.
His play anchored the Pistons’ rise to prominence, leading the Pistons to become a powerhouse in the late 1980s. Detroit reached three straight Finals, winning the last two consecutive titles. It featured a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989 and topped the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in 1990.
As the NBA announced the list of top 75 players to honor its 75th anniversary before the 2021-22 campaign, the Hall of Fame point guard brashly voiced where he believes he ranks all-time.
“The only top 50 player to win back-to-back championships in NBA history without another top 50 teammate,” Thomas said. “Let it be known.”
Thomas played with highly talented players such as Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, and Adrian Dantley. Rodman holds the strongest case for that potential recognition among the group as he spent his first seven seasons with the Pistons.
During that span, he earned a pair of Defensive Player of the Year awards, received two All-Star game selections and two All-NBA Third Team nods. He also had five of his seven All-Defensive First Team nominations.
However, Rodman wasn’t named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1996. Several players with Thomas’ status to win a championship without an all-time great teammate who doesn’t hold that lofty recognition. The former Pistons’ great moved past Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Clyde Drexler to earn back-to-back NBA titles.
Thomas has often been overlooked, and this was his moment to give himself some much-deserved shine.
Isiah Thomas remains an overlooked all-time great
Thomas certainly doesn’t need to talk himself into underlining his career accomplishments.
His resume speaks for itself, but he’s often overshadowed in the conversation regarding the greatest talents. He transformed the Pistons into a powerhouse while behind stellar play while experiencing sustained success.
Thomas was part of an era filled with Hall of Fame talent that often features the public shine prominently toward Johnson, Jordan, and Bird. However, the former Pistons great’s career more than elicits praise that his peers received over the last couple of decades.