Michael Jordan: No Way You Can Convince Me Isiah Thomas Wasn't an Assh--e

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2020

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 9:  Michael Jordan #23 talks with Isiah Thomas #11 before the 1992 NBA All-Star Game at Orlando Arena on February 9, 1992 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1992 NBAE (Photo by Jon Soohoo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jon Soohoo/Getty Images

Michael Jordan is the GOAT when it comes to basketball and apparently the GOAT of holding grudges.

Sunday's episodes of The Last Dance documentary that chronicles Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls detailed the rivalry and pure hatred that existed between those teams and the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. While Detroit beat the Bulls in the playoffs three straight years in 1988, 1989 and 1990, Chicago got revenge with a sweep in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals.

Detroit infamously walked off the court before the final buzzer in Game 4, which Isiah Thomas explained his team learned after witnessing the Boston Celtics do the same thing in a previous playoff series the Pistons won.

Jordan wasn't having it:

ESPN @espn

“You can show me anything you want. It’s no way you can convince me he wasn’t an a--hole.” —MJ on Isiah Thomas #TheLastDance https://t.co/0v2ArzrghL

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

MJ's reaction to Isiah Thomas’ comments 👀 #TheLastDance https://t.co/60bSJyfgy6

Jordan also juxtaposed the Pistons walking off the court to his own willingness to remain and shake their hands after the prior Detroit postseason series victory. The documentary even showed him giving an on-court interview after Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, which Chicago lost as Scottie Pippen dealt with a debilitating migraine.

If anyone had a reason to hate the Pistons, it was His Airness.

As The Last Dance detailed, Detroit used the infamous Jordan Rules to slow the six-time champion down, unleashing a level of physicality that was so difficult for opponents to deal with on a nightly basis.

That meant knocking him to the ground whenever he got near the rim, physically beating him up throughout a long series and making sure he could never take off to score above the rim.

As Sunday's episode made clear, it also forced the Bulls to embrace weight training and their own physicality during the offseason leading up to the 1990-91 campaign to counter Detroit's brand of basketball.

Jordan highlighted Pippen's ability to shake off a Dennis Rodman flagrant foul in Game 4 of the 1991 series without retaliating or complaining as an example of how the Bulls had changed leading up to their series sweep.

While Detroit ultimately won three of those four playoff series, Jordan vanquished the Bad Boy era in a quick four games in 1991 and went on to win six championships as the most legendary player in league history.

Thomas is a Hall of Famer himself and a two-time champion, but it is a testament to the power of the Jordan narrative that many still remember Zeke's team walking off the floor as a defining moment in his career.

Jordan surely does.