It’s no secret that Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye over the years. There has been conflict between the two that stems from the bitter rivalry during their playing days. The standing between the two since then hasn’t moved in a positive direction, with there still being some tension. With the discussion around Jordan‘s legacy cropping up yet again due to “The Last Dance” documentary, Thomas still questions whether Jordan’s grip on being the greatest player of all-time is firm at all.
Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas’ rivalry
During the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons had an intense rivalry brewing.
That saw Jordan be the central focus of the “Bad Boys” Pistons that often led to scrums between the team. The approach to the game was different when these two teams took the floor with much of that coming the way of hard fouls on the Bulls star.
It led to the notion of the “Jordan Rules” that only further created more tension. Jordan held a firm belief that Thomas led the way for Detroit, which crumbled up the relationship between the Hall of Famers. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the former Pistons great has slighted his former rival one more time.
Isiah Thomas isn’t sold that Michael Jordan is the GOAT
The relationship between Jordan and Thomas has been well-documented over the years.
The former Pistons great has prodded Jordan yet again by questioning whether his longtime rival has a firm grip on being the greatest NBA player. During a recent interview with Fox Sports Chris Broussard on “The Association” podcast, Thomas voiced that believes if the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant played in the 1980s, things could be different in terms of how the former Bulls great is perceived in that conversation.
“I think this generation [of players] is not getting enough credit for what they’re doing,” Thomas said. “Because the athletes that are in this generation are so far superior than what was in my generation. [When we were playing], Jordan was the best athlete that we had ever seen, [but] from an athletic standpoint, there are like 10 or 11 guys in the NBA right now with Jordan’s athleticism. We didn’t have that back then. With what [Kevin Durant] and LeBron are doing, if you put them back in the era of the ’80s, with their talent, their athleticism and their skill, who’s the GOAT?”
It’s a fair assessment to take given that the current players are more athletic and physical specimens than back during the 1980s. However, it was also a much different game that had plenty of physicality along with specific rules that were not in place, such as hand-checking defensively.
James and Durant have proven to be all-time great talents, but it falls into the “What If” scenario as the argument could be made about Jordan playing now. He was averaging north of 30 points during his time, which that number could well surpass what James Harden is producing due to the higher volume of fouls called.
That all makes for an interesting conversation around who would prosper better in another era.
Who is the greatest NBA player?
The discussion around who is the all-time greatest NBA player will always remain a heated topic. Many believe that Jordan holds that title firmly given what he put forth in his 15-year career.
Meanwhile, there are those that view James and Kobe Bryant as being in the mix in that conversation. At the same time, players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain don’t ascertain as much in that realm.
Regardless of all that, it’s clear that Thomas is still giving Jordan’s any slight or jab he can and vis-versa.