“The Last Dance” may be over, but it made a lasting impression on everyone in the NBA community. The doc helped inspire conversations about MJ, the Bulls, Kerry Krause, and (of course) former Pistons guard Isiah Thomas.
At the time, he and Jordan were entangled in a rather bitter rivalry that seeped into the 1992 Olympics. According to I.T., the reason why he was left off that team was because Jordan demanded it.
“That’s a big hole on my [basketball] resume,” Thomas continued. “That is the biggest hole in my resume. … In the sports arena, I’ve won at every level. I tried to do everything correctly, and I thought I should’ve made that Dream Team. 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, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then.”
“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 … then I am more disappointed today than I was back then.”
Isiah Thomas is still “hurt” that he was left off the Dream Team. pic.twitter.com/YkRt8zIY09
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 27, 2020
Of course, in actuality, it seems Jordan wasn’t the only one who wanted to keep Thomas of that roster. Here’s what Magic said on the subject back on ’08:
“Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him…I’m sad for Isiah. He has alienated so many people in his life, and he still doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand why he wasn’t chosen for that Olympic team, and that’s really too bad. You should be aware when you have ticked off more than half of the NBA. If you went strictly on terms of ability, then Isiah should have been chosen for the Dream Team. But Michael didn’t want to play with him. Scottie wanted no part of him. Bird wasn’t pushing for him. Karl Malone didn’t want him. Who was saying, ‘We need this guy?’ Nobody. Michael got singled out as the guy that kept Isiah off, but that really isn’t fair. It was everybody. We all understood the camaraderie wouldn’t be the same,” Johnson told Jack McCallum for his book ‘Dream Team’.
So, it kind of sounds like the decision was unanimous. Nobody really wanted Thomas on that team and, on Undisputed yesterday, NBA analyst Skip Bayless explained why it should not be credited to Michael.
Stop trying to pin this on Michael when the entire team, starting with Magic Johnson who at that point had more clout than Jordan, didn’t want him. More @Undisputed, now on FS1 https://t.co/NVh547LAbL
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 27, 2020
In the end, it’s a real shame Isiah never got to play on the Dream Team. To this day, it remains one of the biggest holes in his resume.
But when you play the way he did (rough, physical, border-line rule-breaking), that’s the price you pay. It seems he sacrificed the love and respect of his peers for his “Bad Boy” way of life on the court.