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Magic Johnson, Not Michael Jordan, Blocked Isiah Thomas From Making The 1992 Dream Team, Says John Salley

Magic Johnson, Not Michael Jordan, Blocked Isiah Thomas From Making The 1992 Dream Team, Says John Salley

Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan's dislike for one another is one of the most well-known feuds in the NBA. A lot of it had to do with the rough manner in which Isiah's Detroit Pistons played against MJ and his Chicago Bulls. This led to a bit of bad blood between the two and there have always been suggestions that Jordan kept IT off the 1992 Dream Team because of their beef. 

John Salley, who was teammates with Isiah, who gave a different reason for Isiah's dislike of MJ, also addressed the situation with the Dream Team in an interview with DJ Vlad in 2019. And according to Salley, it wasn't so much Michael Jordan that was involved in keeping Thomas out of the team as it was another NBA legend, Magic Johnson. 

DJ Vlad: "Well, what about the whole Dream Team situation?"

John Salley: "That was the craziest thing because when you hear the story in Magic's words, Magic says, in his documentary, that he was the reason Isiah didn't get on the squad."

DJ Vlad: "Well because the story that was circulating was that Jordan said that he wouldn't play on the Dream Team if Isiah Thomas was on that team."

John Salley: "Mike never said that. He loved Isiah, still does."

DJ Vlad: "Really? So all that is just a myth?"

John Salley: "He loved Isiah, he loved everything about us in Detroit. He was on fire. Now, this is my first TV show, 'The John Salley Show', I go pick him (Michael) up from the hotel in 1988, bring him back to my set for shooting, get him some food and bring him back to the hotel. I would trade my tickets with Scottie and Horace because they had people in Detroit and they would give me 2 tickets when I went to Chicago.

"Outside, right now, LeBron and them, you see it. We had the same thing. People you were cool with... You know, we have relationships outside of being on the court. But Magic, in Magic's documentary, says that because he was upset with Isiah, he says that... Magic said he blocked it.

"Michael doesn't even talk. See that's another thing, the things that are different now is that Michael didn't have conversations about that... He was an introvert."

While there may be some truth to the fact that MJ wasn't involved with keeping Isiah out, claiming that Mike loved IT is certainly quite hard to believe. Not a lot of the teams of that era liked the Bad Boy Pistons though, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird both quite evidently dislike Isiah's team and their tactics. It's hard to know exactly how things went down 30 years after the fact but the issue is something that hurts Isiah Thomas to this day.