Isiah Thomas has opened up about the infamous walk-off in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. Thomas and his Pistons were swept by the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan after three consecutive seasons beating the Bulls in the playoffs. That was the moment of revenge for MJ and his teammates, which Thomas and co. didn’t take so well.
During the 3rd and 4th episodes of MJ’s docu-series ‘The Last Dance’, Thomas and his Pistons were a big focus. The former point guard tried to excuse himself for his behavior back then, but Jordan wasn’t having none of it, calling him an ‘a–hole’ for the way he acted during those last seconds of Game 4.
ESPN recently released the whole interview of Thomas on ‘Get Up’, where he joined Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg to discuss his manners during that night and all the repercussions his attitude that night and during the Bad Boys’ reign in the league caused.
“We were coming down, Michael Jordan was coming up,” Thomas said. “And in coming up, you have certain emotions; and in coming down as champions, you have certain emotions. … Looking back, over the years, had we had the opportunity to do it all over again, I think all of us would make a different decision.”
With 7.9 seconds remaining in the Bulls’ 21-point rout to end the series, the Pistons — at [Bill] Laimbeer’s behest, according to Thomas — walked off the court without shaking the Bulls players’ hands or congratulating them.
“I’ve paid a heavy price for that decision,” Thomas said. “And in paying that price — I understand this is the sports world and everything else, but at the same time, looking back over it in terms of how we felt at that particular time, our emotional state and how we exited the floor — we actually gave the world the opportunity to look at us in a way that we never really tried to position ourselves in or project ourselves in that way. So it’s unfortunate that it happened.”
The Hall of Fame guard also was asked about his omission from the roster of the 1992 Dream Team at the Barcelona Olympics, and whether he believed his refusal to shake Jordan’s hand was a factor.
“I thought I should’ve made that Dream Team,” Thomas said. “However, I wasn’t a part of it. That hurt me, and looking back, if I’m not a part of the Dream Team because a lapse in emotion in terms of not shaking someone’s hand — if that’s the reason why I didn’t make the Dream Team, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then when I wasn’t selected.”
Zeke knows he did wrong, and unlike his teammate Bill Laimbeer, he’s shown his regret for that move. However, he can’t change what is done and get the call for the famed 1992 Dream Team. It doesn’t look like his relationship with Michael Jordan is going to improve anytime soon, either, but it’s good to see Thomas trying to convince everybody he regrets having done what he did in 1991.