If you’ve been online at all in the past 24 hours, you’ll know that the rivalry between MJ and Isiah Thomas is very real and very intense.
During their many battles in the 80s and 90s, it was often that the two exchanged blows both on and off the court. In fact, their disdain for each other seeped into the Olympics where Thomas was noticeably left off the team.
Needless to say, their relationship was not ideal — even if it wasn’t personal.
In a recent ranking of all the players he has faced, Thomas put MJ fourth. But many can’t help but feel his personal rivalry with Jordan played a big role in why he’s so low.
Asked Isiah to rank the five best players he ever played against based on his own experience. His answer:
4. Jordan 👀
5. Dr. J https://t.co/YDojum1dYD
— Bill Reiter (@sportsreiter) April 27, 2020
The thing is, that directly contradicts what he said in a 1999 interview with Sports Illustrated. Even he couldn’t deny MJ’s greatness, as he admitted to the world that Jordan should be recognized as the greatest player ever.
“From all the players I have seen and played against, he’s definitely the best player ever. A lot of people like to argue this guy was better or this guy was better. But every player you think of there was some weaknesses and deficiencies in their game. He has the complete package in all facets of his offensive game, and when you break him down defensively, he’s also the best defensive player in the game. … He should be remembered as the greatest of all time.”
In a 1993 interview, Magic Johnson even admitted Mike was the “best ever,” and in 1985, Bird went so far as to call Jordan “the finest athlete he’d ever witnessed.”
It seems almost every NBA legend has recognized MJ’s status as the GOAT, even Isiah Thomas too at one point. NO matter your opinion on MJ, that’s got to count for something.