As we come to the end of 2020, most people are looking forward to the end of this year. The past year has been difficult for Basketball fans with very little joy and entertainment coming our way. We spent months in our home with no source of entertainment. However, there was one shining light that came – Michael Jordan and ‘The Last Dance’ documentary.
The 10-part docuseries took an in-depth look at the career of Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls. Viewers got a rare insight into Jordan’s world and what he felt during the time of his legendary NBA career. The docuseries took over the sports world and became a major talking point for outlets all over the world.
One of the key talking points coming out of ‘The Last Dance’ was the relationship between Michael Jordan and former Detroit Pistons All-Star Isiah Thomas. The two had several altercations in the late 80s and 90s during the NBA playoffs. For Jordan, the Pistons were the team that he had to overcome before he became a champion.
The Pistons were a dynasty during the late 80s. Nicknamed ‘the Bad Boys’, the Pistons were notorious for playing a very rough and physical style.
Before their first encounter with Michael, the coach came up with the now-infamous ‘Jordan Rules’ where they would play dirty with the NBA legend to stop his onslaught.
The documentary showed that he did not appreciate the way the Pistons threw him around. While Jordan was one of the better players on the court, he couldn’t overcome the physicality they played with. Thomas and Jordan were especially violent in their altercations.
Michael Jordan hated Isiah Thomas
For three years, between 1988 to 1990, Michael Jordan always suffered against the Detroit Pistons. Isiah Thomas consistently antagonized Michael Jordan, and they would constantly fight. During the series against the Pistons, one thing became clear; Michael Jordan needed help.
And help came in the form of Scottie Pippen. And when Pippen was finally at full health, he and Jordan overcame the Pistons in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. But it was the aftermath of the Finals that really sowed the seeds of disdain between Jordan and Thomas.
Thomas instructed the Detroit Pistons to walk away from the bench before the game was over. This was especially insulting for Jordan as he had remained on the court to shake their hands every time in the past few series that the Bulls lost. The fact that Isiah Thomas, in Jordan’s eyes, behaved like a sore loser really upset him.
Isiah Thomas explained that the walk-off was not a sign of disrespect, but Michael Jordan dismissed it. He wouldn’t accept it. In 1992, the US Olympic team recruited the NBA’s best players to play the Olympics.
However, Isiah Thomas was not selected despite being an All-Star. Many believed Michael Jordan sabotaged Thomas, but Jordan declared that he was not the reason Thomas was not selected to the team.
Despite their animosity, Jordan and Thomas are two of the greatest players in NBA history. The animosity is far from over between the two. But one thing is certain; their rivalry will go down in history as one of the greatest rivalries in the NBA.
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