Sunday, January 17, 2021

Isiah Thomas on Why He’s Not Feuding with Former Rival Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

*Michael Jordan and Isiah Washington’s feud was explored in Episode 5 of ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” in which it was made clear that MJ still has ill feelings toward his former rival.

For all you non-sports fans out there, here’s the backstory between the two NBA stars, via The Spun:

Jordan’s Bulls had to go through Thomas’ Pistons before reaching their NBA champions level in the early 1990s. When Chicago finally topped Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals, Thomas and some of his Pistons teammates refused to shake hands with Jordan.

Thomas tried to give an explanation for that move in The Last Dance, but Jordan wasn’t buying it.

“You can show me anything you want,” Jordan told the interviewer before being shown Thomas’ comment. “There’s no way you can convince me he wasn’t an asshole.”

The former Detroit Pistons star is now speaking out about the perceived diss.

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“I’mma call a timeout on the feud because really I wasn’t fighting him. I was winning all the time so why am I mad at him?” Thomas told Jason Whitlock in an interview this week.

Thomas has also shared his thoughts on if MJ was the reason he was left off the Dream Team that won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

“Being left off the Dream Team, that personally hurt me,” Thomas said. “The only thing that’s missing from my resume is [the Dream Team] … I still don’t know who did it or why I didn’t make it. I know the criteria for making the team, I fit all the criteria. That’s a big hole in my resume.”

During his interview on Thomas in “The Last Dance,” Jordan did note how much he respects Thomas’ game.

“I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent,” Jordan said. “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.”

In an appearance on “SportsCenter” on Sunday, former NBC Sports announcer Bob Costas said Thomas believed that Jordan was “the greatest player he had ever played against.”

“The relationship between Isiah Thomas and Michael, and that hasn’t been repaired, that’s obvious, and the controversy about the Dream Team. All that stuff aside: I was there with Isiah through that ’97-98 season,” Costas said. “I heard every syllable he uttered. Whatever his personal feelings may have been, he never once slighted Michael Jordan. There was never once a left-handed or back-handed comment. He gave him full credit as the greatest player he had ever played against, the greatest player he had ever seen. I never heard him in a production meeting, out to dinner, off the air, never once say anything that diminished Michael Jordan. So he was completely fair and completely professional in his coverage of Michael Jordan during that Last Dance season.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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