Isiah Thomas Reveals the 1 Positive of Being Left Off the 1992 Dream Team
Isiah Thomas wanted to be a part of the US Olympic basketball team back in 1992. Known as the Dream Team, the group was made up of the greatest players in the NBA and included one collegiate star. It was the first time an American Olympic team included active players from the NBA and many referred to it as the greatest sports team ever put together.
Thomas was certainly good enough to make the roster, but Clyde Drexler earned the final spot over the Detroit Pistons guard. There’s always been plenty of speculation about why Thomas was left off, with many believing Michael Jordan preferred not to have him on the roster.
Isiah Thomas took Michael Jordan at his word about the 1992 Olympic team
Speculation has run wild over why Isiah Thomas was not part of the Dream Team. Many believe Jordan had plenty of pull when it came to leaving Thomas off the squad. During The Last Dance, a 2020 docuseries about Jordan’s final championship run with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan insisted he had nothing to do with that decision.
“You want to attribute it to me, go ahead and be my guest. But it wasn’t me,” Jordan said, per USA TODAY.
Thomas says he believed him. After watching the rest of The Last Dance, he wasn’t sure what to believe.
“He asked me to be in his documentary,” Thomas recently said on the Cedric Maxwell Podcast. “He asked me to be in The Last Dance. His producers asked me to be in The Last Dance. You see me sitting there in a three-piece and a tie. I’m dressed up. I didn’t think we had a problem. Whatever happened with Dream Team, I’m taking him at his word. He said he had nothing to do with it. OK. Stuff happens.”
As the series went on, Thomas said some of the disparaging things Jordan said about him floored him.
“He calls me an a**hole and then says, ‘I hate him.’ Big words,” Thomas said to Maxwell. “Ain’t nobody ever said that about me. Former player, current player, ain’t nobody ever said, ‘I hate him.’ He said, ‘As much as I hate him…’
“I’m like, whoa, whoa. Now, we’re looking around, and my phone starts ringing. It’s his former teammates, his inner circle. ‘Well, Michael didn’t mean it. It didn’t come off the right way.’ I never hear from Michael. I’m hearing from everybody around him. Now, every interview I do, including this one, I have to answer the Michael Jordan question.
“If you didn’t mean it, then come out and clean it up. But if you meant it, you can leave it like it is, but stop sending your people to tell me that ain’t what you mean.”
Thomas recently revealed the one positive about being left off the team
Thomas recently appeared on the All the Smoke podcast. He admitted how hurt he was by not being a part of that team.
“Was I mad? Was I upset?” he asked. “I probably went through all those ranges of emotion. I’m from the west side of Chicago, so it’s like, hey you didn’t make it. What are you gonna do? You can cry about it or you can move on with your life.
“So I just kept moving on. I watched every game and rooted for the USA to win. I had won the gold medal in 1979, and I made the Olympic team in ’80 that was boycotted. Was hoping I’d make this one. I didn’t make it. I don’t know why I didn’t make it. Do I feel like I should’ve been on it? Absolutely.”
Then Thomas decided to reflect on the positive.
“But let me say this,” he said. “Me not making it has given me more pub than if I would’ve made it. There’s always some good and some bad with it. I like the fact that people acknowledge it even if the institutions didn’t acknowledge it. The people acknowledge that I should’ve been on the team, so I’m good with that.”