Cover Image for “I was tried to be nice to Isiah Thomas but he kept talking behind my back”: When Michael Jordan admitted to wanting to be on good terms with the Pistons guard

“I was tried to be nice to Isiah Thomas but he kept talking behind my back”: When Michael Jordan admitted to wanting to be on good terms with the Pistons guard

Samir Mehdi
|Tue Mar 15 2022


Michael Jordan once claimed that he was actually trying to befriend Isiah Thomas would hear about Thomas talking behind his back. 

The feud that exists between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas is one that has been stagnant for nearly 40 years. No amends have been made from either side and it doesn’t look like that would happen any time soon. Shaq actually came out recently and said he would love to produce a sit-down interview between the two in the near future. 

Regardless of whether or not that happens, the fact remains the same that this rivalry between the two began as a Jordan v Thomas feud, not a Bulls v Pistons one. Most believe that the continual disappointment Chicago faced against Detroit in the Playoffs in the late 80s is what caused it but the feud was brewing years prior.

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The infamous 1985 NBA All-Star Game freeze out on Michael Jordan saw IT lead the Eastern Conference All-Stars down a path that led to them not passing the ball to Jordan unless absolutely necessary. MJ had merely 7 that game. 

Michael Jordan on not getting along with Isiah Thomas. 

The freeze out is what caused their fall-out because Michael Jordan admits to wanting to be on good terms with IT and the rest of elder statesmen of the NBA. MJ credits the freeze out a Thomas giving him the cold shoulder in an elevator to what started it all.

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When asked about how he felt going into the game right after the All-Star break, which was against Detroit, this is what Jordan had to say during his 1992 Playboy interview: 

“Normally, I would smile and enjoy myself, but I was serious the whole game. It was a grudge game from my standpoint. And the next day, the headlines read “Jordan Gets His Revenge, Scores 49.” That’s all Isiah needed to see. It was a competition from that point.” 

“I always tried to respect him and be kind, but I always would hear talk that he was saying things about me behind my back. I just said, Well, I’m gonna stop trying to be nice. Screw it. Just play basketball. We don’t have to be best of friends.” 


About the author
Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Covering everything from Wilt Chamberlain's offensive goaltending games in 1962 to Ja Morant's points in the paint absurdity in 2022.

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