Isiah Thomas: "Michael Jordan Didn't Three-Peat Against Magic, Larry and Dr. J. The Celtics, Pistons And Lakers Beat Him In The 80s Era."

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(via The Source)

(via The Source)

"The Last Dance" documentary is revealing a lot about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the rest of that dominant Bulls team.

It has also revealed a thing or two about their rivalry with the Detroit "Bad Boy" Pistons, which was as strong as any we've seen before or since. Of course, it all stemmed from what some would call "dirty" play from the Pistons, who used brute force and physicality to out-muscle and work their opponents.

Their methods were criticized by many, including Jordan -- who literally said the Pistons were "undeserving champions" and were "bad for basketball."

Of course, he also famously called Thomas an "a-hole" for his borderline illegal playstyle and his refusal to shake Jordan's hand in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. It's fair to say that Jordan has made his feelings very clear in regards to his disdain for the Pistons and, specifically, Isiah Thomas.

But how does IT feel about it all? He recently got the chance to share his thoughts in a chat with Bill Reiter of CBS.

"I really am into it. I'm glued to the television.

"You know," he says, "it's interesting watching the doc, getting a peek behind the curtain. Because you don't know how other teams work. Seeing the relationship and the way Jerry Krause was treated, I found that interesting. How Jack McCloskey was revered by us. And how Red Auerbach was revered by the Celtics. Watching the relationships -- even Jerry West with the Lakers -- and watching how Chicago and Jerry Krause had their relationship."

On the topic of MJ's comments about him, Thomas says he was a bit surprised.

"I was definitely surprised," he says. "Because we've been in each other's presence before, and I've never gotten that type of reaction from him. We were even at dinner a couple times and he was always pleasant. Always good to my kids. Always good to my son. He even gave my son a pair of gym shoes.

"The competition that we all had on the floor, I truly just thought it was on the floor."

But perhaps the most interesting part was his opinion on Jordan's greatness and legacy. He was very blunt.

"When you put Jordan and his basketball team in the '80s, they weren't a very successful team," he says. "They just weren't. When you talk about Jordan and his team dominating, they dominated the '90s. But when you put him with those Lakers teams and those Pistons teams and those Celtics teams, they all beat him. They just did.

"What separated Jordan from all of us was he was the first one to three-peat. But he didn't three-peat against Magic, Larry and Dr. J."

Indeed, Thomas has a point there. Michael didn't win his first Championship until 1991, a total of six seasons after making his pro-debut. In that span, his Bulls were getting romped by the Celtics and Pistons.

Still, Jordan achieved success that far surpasses a lot of All-Time greats like (you guessed it) Thomas, Bird, Magic, and Dr. J. His resume is one that nobody has quite been able to live up to.

But Thomas' words do ring with an undeniable hint of truth, and perhaps we should remember that the next time we talk about MJ's legacy.