Pistons: Isiah Thomas was caught off guard hearing of Michael Jordan’s hatred

Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The comments of hatred from Michael Jordan toward Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas in The Last Dance caught IT completely off guard

No one has gotten as rough of a ride over the last two weekends of The Last Dance airings than Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas (OK, I guess maybe Jerry Krause is up there each and every week).

While the Pistons as a whole were viewed quite negatively in week two, Thomas took a brunt of the backlash, and Michael Jordan‘s personal feelings toward Thomas were revealed in episode 6.

Jordan’s relationship with Thomas, as he describes it, is acrimonious, in large part due to the Pistons walking off the floor in 1992 after being eliminated by Jordan and the Bulls without shaking hands, something the Bulls did every time the Pistons knocked them out in previous years.

Jordan didn’t hold back speaking about Thomas in his recent sit-down interview for the doc:

"“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 [being excluded from the Olympic team], but I never threw his name in there,” Jordan said in episode 6."

It was surprising to hear that Jordan spoke of IT with present-day hatred, especially considering other members of those Bulls teams have been highly complimentary about Thomas and their present-day relationship with him.

Generally, players are able to patch things up and celebrate each other this far after their playing careers. The bond of the fraternity of the NBA is stronger than even the hottest competition.

Jordan, though, is a different breed. A competitive addict as he described himself in last week’s episodes, he might have more trouble than most putting things aside that happened on the court.

For Thomas, the hatred that boils over to today caught him off guard completely. Speaking to Danny Green and Harrison Sanford on the Inside the Green Room podcast, Thomas said:

"“Hearing Jordan say he had hate in his heart for me, I never thought of it that way. It was surprising to me because, you know, we’ve seen each other since 1991-92. Every time we’ve met it’s always been friendly, it’s always been cordial. My son was wearing, you know, the Bulls 23 jersey and wore his Olympic jersey, wore the shoes and everything else.”"

Thomas noted specifically that he felt like everyone kept the competition inside the four lines and didn’t bring the hatred home with them.

When asked about where he thinks their relationship is today, Thomas said:

"“I don’t know [where our relationship stands now]. I mean really, I thought everything was alright. I mean, I’ve been to dinner with he and Ahmad Rashad, you know as you can see I covered his games when I was working for NBC, you know, really I didn’t know it was this kind of ice, but, really, I have no bitterness or hatred in my heart,” Thomas said."

Thomas is at peace with everything that happened during his playing career. His reputation has been dragged through the mud over the last two weeks, in some cases unfairly.

Michael Wilbon recently reported that 9 players from the 1992 USA Olympic basketball team didn’t want Isiah Thomas on the team. IT spoke about the fact that several players called him up and refuted that claim, and Wilbon later apologized for the report.

Thomas, on the podcast, pointed out that in that era, it wasn’t just Jordan getting hit, noting that at his size Thomas had to take some of the physicality of the era harder than most.

While it might seem as if the documentary is an avoidable weekly airing for IT, he mentioned he’s sincerely enjoyed each episode.

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