Michael Jordan tried to explain why Isiah Thomas didn’t make the 1992 Dream Team. That team featured the best NBA players at that time, including MJ, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen among others.
The Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan and the Detroit Pistons of Isiah Thomas clashed in fourth straight playoffs, with the Pistons winning the first three years, using what some believed were dirty tactics known as ‘the Jordan Rules’. Everything changed for the Bulls when they swept the Pistons in 1991 and went to win their first of six titles against the Los Angeles Lakers.
After that fourth game, the Pistons players didn’t shake hands with the Bulls, which created a lot of controversy around the league. People believe that could have cost Isiah Thomas the chance to play with that famous 1992 Dream Team that dominated the Olympics in Barcelona. Rumors have suggested Michael Jordan asked for Thomas’ exclusion from the team, but he denied those claims in the fifth episode of ‘The Last Dance’ documentary aired on Sunday.
“Before the ’92 Olympics,” Jordan says, via James Herbert of CBS Sports. “(selection committee chairman) Rod Thorn calls me and says, ‘We would love for you to be on the Dream Team.” I say, ‘Who’s all playing?’ He says, ‘What does that mean?’ I say, ‘Who’s all playing?’ He says, ‘Well, the guy you’re talking about or you’re thinking about, he’s not going to be playing.'”
Jordan goes on: “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.”
Thomas tried to explain he met the criteria to be selected to the team, but for Jordan, it was more about chemistry, which would be altered if Thomas was part of that squad.
“The Dream Team, based on the environment and the camaraderie that happened on that team, it was the best harmony,” Jordan says. “Would Isiah have made a different feeling on that team? Yes.”
“If you want to attribute it to me, go ahead, be my guest. But it wasn’t me.”
Jordan had one of the biggest rivalries in the NBA with the Pistons. The bad blood between them carries until today, according to His Airness. It wouldn’t be crazy if he actually said he didn’t want to play with Isiah Thomas, but in the end, that Dream Team didn’t miss the point guard, as they dominated the 1992 Olympics, trashing everybody on their way to the gold medal.