A throwback video from 1990 shows arch-rival Isiah Thomas singing praises of Michael Jordan, calling the latter the best he’d ever seen.
It’s no secret that Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas share one of the most long-lasting rivalries in NBA history. To date, the two legends don’t see eye to eye and never shy away from throwing shots at each other. MJ’s docu-series The Last Dance was the most recent example of their enmity.
Jordan has always held a grudge against Zeke for his unsportsmanlike behavior during the 1991 ECF. At the time, the Bulls had finally ended the 3-year curse of being eliminated by the Pistons in the ECF.
However, things took a turn for the worse when the Bad Boys Pistons walked out without shaking the hands of any of the Bulls players. Isiah and co would exit the arena with a few seconds remaining to end regulation. The Pistons were criticized heavily for this, with Zeke admitting in hindsight that he would have done things differently if rewinded.
Though Isiah nullifies Jordan’s name in the GOAT conversation, he had a contrasting view in 1990.
Isiah Thomas believes Michael Jordan is the best he has ever seen.
It’s almost impossible to believe that Zeke would call his Airness the best player in the world, considering the bitter rivalry they share. Surprisingly, a clip from The Arsenio Hall Show shows the veteran point guard singing praises of Jordan.
“In terms of his quickness, his strength, his jumping ability, his touch, also his knowledge and understanding for the game, he (Michael Jordan) by far, you know, is the best that I have ever seen. And Earvin (Magic Johnson) is my boy. You know Air, I mean the dude you’ve been seeing what he’s doing.”
Jordan, who watched the clip had the following to say.
“I think you know that is something you have to be proud about. If you have the respect of your peers, it goes a long way, far greater than any championship that you may win.”
— The Jordan Rules (@Rules23Jordan) December 29, 2021
The clip above was from the year 1990. At the time, the Pistons had won back-to-back championships and Zeke was the Finals MVP. At the same time, Jordan had faced his 3rd straight elimination in the ECF by the hands of Bad Boy Pistons.
Though the two legends are yet to bury the hatchet, they have always appreciated each other’s greatness.