Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas has taken a shot at long-time rival Michael Jordan, claiming he wouldn't be called the GOAT of basketball if some of the current NBA stars played in the league in the 80s. The rivalry between the Bad Boy Pistons and Jordan's Chicago Bulls is well known by NBA fans, and it looks like the animosity has lasted until this very day.
Jordan is widely considered the greatest to ever do it, but for Thomas, things would be different if he went against the likes of Kevin Durant or LeBron James during his era. Speaking with Chris Broussard of Fox Sports, Thomas stated that the competition in the NBA is harder right now, which would have changed everything for MJ.
"I think this generation [of players] is not getting enough credit for what they're doing," Thomas said. "Because the athletes that are in this generation are so far superior than what was in my generation. [When we were playing], Jordan was the best athlete that we had ever seen, [but] from an athletic standpoint, there are like 10 or 11 guys in the NBA right now with Jordan's athleticism. We didn't have that back then. With what [Kevin Durant] and LeBron are doing, if you put them back in the era of the '80s, with their talent, their athleticism and their skill, who's the GOAT?"
One could say this is just Thomas taking jobs at Jordan for their well-documented rivalry, but he has a valid point there. Back in the day, we couldn't say players like KD or Bron in the league, showing a superior level of athleticism, taking things to the next level.
We'll never know what would happen with MJ if he faced Durant or James during his championship runs, but for Thomas, His Airness would have had a hard time going against KD and the King while chasing those rings.
This Sunday, we'll see the third and fourth episode of 'The Last Dance' documentary, which will focus on the Bulls' rivalry with the Pistons. That will certainly show why Jordan and his Bulls engaged in a heated rivalry with Thomas and his Bad Boys for a big chunk of the 80s.