Michael Jordan had an intense rivalry with the Detroit Pistons during his Hall of Fame career on the Chicago Bulls. The Last Dance docuseries reminded everyone how fierce the hatred was between Jordan’s Bulls and Isiah Thomas’ Pistons.
Now the Charlotte Hornets’ owner, Jordan can only hope that his team gets the best of the Pistons whenever Charlotte and Detroit play. The Hornets have a bright future with LaMelo Ball and Devonte’ Graham leading the way, while the Pistons are rebuilding and will likely be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season.
Detroit and Charlotte haven’t faced each other yet in 2020-21. However, Michael Jordan has already defeated the Motor City franchise without doing anything.
Michael Jordan and the Bulls despised Isiah Thomas and the Pistons
Michael Jordan and the Bulls lost to the Pistons in the second round of the 1988 playoffs and then in back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 1989 and 1990. Detroit created the “Jordan Rules,” a four-step defensive plan to stop Jordan on offense. The tactic nearly killed MJ, which is why he despises the Pistons even to this day.
During The Last Dance docuseries, Brendan Malone–a former Pistons coach–explained what Detroit was trying to accomplish with the “Jordan Rules.” The Pistons didn’t let Jordan go baseline and wanted the Bulls superstar to go left instead. Detroit also trapped Jordan every time he got the ball in the post.
The fourth phase of the “Jordan Rules” featured the Pistons knocking MJ to the ground whenever he tried to take flight. The six-time champion took some brutal hits every time he played Detroit. Isiah Thomas and Co. had the Bulls’ number at the start of Jordan’s career.
During the summer of 1990, Jordan put on about 15 pounds of muscle. He was ready to fight back against the Pistons and the “Jordan Rules.” The Bulls swept Detroit in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, winning Game 4 on the road. Thomas and the Pistons walked off the court before Game 4 ended and didn’t shake the Bulls’ hands.
Ever since that moment, Michael Jordan has never had a relationship with Isiah Thomas.
Michael Jordan went 6-0 in the Finals after getting past the Pistons
After finally getting past the Pistons in 1991, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to the championship over Magic Johnson and the LA Lakers for his first of six titles. MJ wound up going 6-0 in the Finals and winning all six Finals MVPs.
Jordan defeated the Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, and Utah Jazz (twice) for his six rings. The 14-time All-Star finished his legendary NBA career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists with the Bulls and Washington Wizards. Jordan won five regular-season MVPs and 10 scoring titles. He’s universally recognized as the greatest basketball player in NBA history.
Since buying the Hornets, Michael Jordan hasn’t had much success as an owner. However, he recently defeated the Pistons through his Jordan Brand.
The Jordan logo is on the Pistons’ jersey
The Jordan logo is on the Pistons’ 2020-21 jersey. Somewhere in Charlotte, Michael Jordan is smoking a cigar and laughing about this.
The fact that MJ’s logo is on the jersey of the team he hated the most is pretty hilarious. Pistons fans may not be happy about it, but it’s safe to say Jordan and his brand love this turn of events.
The Last Dance docuseries showed us that Michael Jordan still isn’t friends with Isiah Thomas. The Pistons legend is open to squashing his beef with MJ, but it’s highly doubtful that the Bulls great wants to speak with Zeke.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.