Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan had one of the most heated rivalries in the NBA. Many fans consider Thomas to be Michael Jordan's greatest rivals. For the longest time, Thomas and the bad boy Detroit Pistons were dominating the Eastern Conference. And much of that dominance came at the expense of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan and the Bulls would always struggle against Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons. Eventually, with the rise of Scottie Pippen, and the arrival of Phil Jackson as a great head coach, the Bulls were able to eventually see off the Detroit Pistons on their way to the 1991 NBA Finals, where Jordan and the Bulls would win their first NBA championship.
And it seems that dislike still exists. Thomas has said in the past that he defeated Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan during their primes. Thomas recently got slammed by NBA fans for picking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the greatest players of all time over Michael Jordan.
And during an interaction with Kevin Durant for his podcast, Thomas seemingly insulted Jordan by suggesting that Kevin Durant and LeBron James would have won 6 NBA championships if they played with the same offensive tactic that Jordan's teams did. He was trying to praise Kevin Durant during the interview, but couldn't help take another dig at Jordan.
“If you put Kevin Durant in the triple post, and he gets to post up like Jordan posted up… If you put Kevin Durant in the triple post in the mid-range, you know… Hell yeah! You see what I mean... We can’t triple-team you in the mid-range in the triple post, you win six of them too. And the same thing with LeBron.”
The duo always had a tumultuous relationship. Some felt that Isiah Thomas didn't like Jordan because MJ overshadowed Thomas in Chicago, which was Isiah's hometown. Whereas others feel as though it is jealousy based on his talent that Thomas feels toward Michael Jordan.
Thomas has been complimentary of Jordan in the past, including calling him 'real sweet' in the past. On top of that, he spoke to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson about Jordan would just toy with him and the Detroit Pistons like they were high school students. But despite the compliments, the relationship between the two is far from strong.