Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas didn't always dislike each other, and it took some time for the beef between them to grow. Still, the rivalry between the 'Bad Boy' Pistons and Jordan's Chicago Bulls was one of the most heated and borderline toxic rivalries in NBA history. The two came to dislike one another, with Isiah often feeling like he didn't get the credit his elite play warranted and Jordan, in turn, earning the adulation of the entire world for his talents.
And while IT was excellent in his prime, a two-time NBA champion, not many people have said that he was close to being the player MJ was. Jordan is the GOAT for a reason and individually, it's hard to say that Isiah compared to him as a player. But John Salley, who was on the Pistons and a few other historic teams like the 1996 Bulls throughout his life, said recently on the 'Pardon My Take' podcast that Isiah was the greatest teammate he played with, even though he did play with Jordan (via Sportskeeda):
"I tell people, I said the greatest player I've ever played with is Isiah Thomas, and I have played with Michael. I have played with Kobe and Shaq. He's six foot, and he did everything everybody else was doing. And in the same amount of time that Steph Curry was playing, Isiah had better stats, but no one wants to mention it."
"They hate him because he's short... They let everything else the propaganda that the Chicago Bulls put on Isiah Thomas. That was propaganda. They let everything else get in the way of his greatness."
There is some truth to what Salley says and as someone that played and won championships alongside Michael and Isiah both, he has unique credibility to speak on the subject. MJ is the GOAT and Isiah is hardly even in the discussion for the greatest point guard of all time, but the NBA could indeed do a lot more to remember Zeke's greatness on the court than they do right now.