Isiah Thomas and his Detroit Pistons shocked the world when they got in the middle of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, who dominated the NBA in the 80s, beating Larry Bird and Magic Johnson on their way to win two back-to-back championships.
Lakers and Celtics ruled the league during those years until Thomas and his 'Bad Boys' Pistons broke through the Eastern Conference thanks to their physical style of play, which earned them plenty of criticism at the time.
Thomas admired those teams but knew he had to go through them to win a championship, which is why he started studying them before entering the NBA. Zeke identified those team's flaws and exploited them when he had the chance, becoming a two-time NBA champion in the process.
Talking on Kevin Durant's The ETCs podcast, the legendary point guard explained his strategy to beat the best teams in the league in the 80s.
“I was just really in the moment focused on the goal. I was a big fan of the Sixers, the Lakers, the Celtics at that time because those were the champions in my era.”
"So I was studying those teams trying to figure out how to beat them not understanding the significance of what their place in history would be. And also what my place in history would be and our team’s place. So I was really just trying to figure out how we can beat them , knowing we didn’t have the type of talent that they had.”
That decision eventually paid off for the man, as he became a champion, dominated the competition, and made a lot of people mad while he and his team celebrated beating the clear dominators of the 80s decade.
Thomas was set to dominate the league in the 90s, but Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls had different plans. After several failed attempts, His Airness figured a way to beat the Pistons and after that, there was no stopping for the Bulls, who won six championships in eight years.
Still, Thomas is very proud of what he did during those years, reminding people that he beat Magic, Bird and Jordan all in their prime, taking pride in beating three of the greatest players who ever lived.