Over the last couple of decades, there has been a lingering notion that Hall of Famer Michael Jordan had prevented former Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas from joining the 1992 Dream Team. It’s a belief has continued to stay strong as the relationship between Jordan and Thomas wasn’t the greatest with their long rivalry and hatred. With The Last Dance documentary covering all angles of Jordan’s career, he once again touched upon the matter to finally bring some much-needed clarity on what went down before the 1992 Olympics.
Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas’ relationship
It’s well documented over the years that Jordan and Thomas didn’t have the greatest of relationships during their playing days.
The former Chicago Bulls great grew to have ire toward Thomas and the Pistons after how they treated him over the years. The two teams had gone through four intense playoff series, which saw Detroit implement the use of the “Jordan Rules” to rough him up physically. That alone created some strong tension between both sides, with Jordan drawing hatred for how the Pistons played that he viewed was dirty.
The infamous walking off the court before Chicago completed the sweep of Detroit in Game 4 of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals didn’t come off too well. There was a great deal of disdain from Jordan and made it quite easy to point the finger at him as to why Thomas wasn’t selected for the Dream Team.
There may finally be some clarity as to where he stood on the entire matter against his longtime rival.
Michael Jordan says he didn’t stop Isiah Thomas from joining Dream Team
The wide-ranging The Last Dance documentary covered a slew of topics that included Thomas’ exclusion from the 1992 Dream Team.
Jordan had to deal with many questions concerning that topic over the years as to what happened. During episode five of the documentary series, he voiced that not only did he have a great deal of respect for Thomas’ talent, but that he never pushed for him not to be included in the 1992 United States Men’s Basketball team.
“I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent. To me, the best point guard of all-time is Magic Johnson and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game. Now, it was insinuated that I was asking about him; but I never threw his name in there.”
Jordan also indicated that the vibe of the entire team would have been different had Thomas been selected. The former Pistons’ great certainly met the criteria to be on the team, but he was notably left off that will always be tied to his relationship with Jordan.
More than anything else, it’s clear that it was known that two star guards had a rocky relationship, and that may have led to the Rod Thorn and others in charge of putting the team together to avoid that situation altogether.
Controversy will always remain
Regardless of the recent comments from Jordan, it will always remain a hot button topic given the strong emotions tied to the situation.
There was and still is a rocky relationship between Jordan and Thomas, which played a significant part as to why the latter wasn’t selected for the Dream Team. It’s an experience that Thomas will always be bitter about not having a chance to be part of alongside the Hall of Fame-studded roster.
Jordan’s stance will remain the same as he holds firm that he didn’t prevent the move. At the same time, he didn’t exactly vouch for Thomas to be picked for the 12-man roster. It’s decision that will stay a hotly debated discussion for years to come.