“Sets a Bad Precedent!”: Isiah Thomas Once Rejected Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson From Playing a $1 Million ‘King of the Court’

Nithin Joseph
|Published 03/02/2023

In the late 80s and early 90s, the Eastern Conference focused on one rivalry. That of the Chicago Bulls and the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. A rivalry led by two greats, Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas.

From the day he was drafted, MJ has had no worse rival than the Pistons. The animosity he shared for the team and its star Isiah Thomas was otherworldly. And, it went both ways.

Zeke was not Jordan’s biggest fan. In fact, he has gone on record on several occasions, criticizing His Airness. So bad was their relationship that Thomas once cost Michael $1 million just by making one huge decision.

Also Read: “Because of Isiah Thomas’s Petty Decisions”: Magic Johnson Ridiculed Pistons’ Legend, Considered him Beneath Michael Jordan

Isiah Thomas once prevented Michael Jordan from taking on Magic Johnson 1-on-1, costing him $1 million

It is no secret that Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas did not like each other. Back in their playing days, the two were at each other’s throats 24/7. There were even times they would do things to each other just out of spite.

In MJ’s case, it was making sure that Zeke didn’t make it onto the Dream Team. But, for Thomas, although not proven, a decision he made back in 1990 as the president of the  National Basketball Players Association cost Jordan $1 million.

The scene was being set for a 1-on-1 match between His Airness and Magic Johnson. A battle for the ages in Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas. Unfortunately, Isiah claimed it would “set a bad precedent”, ultimately leading to the event being canceled.

Granted, it wasn’t just Thomas’ decision. The NBA was also not keen on seeing the 1-on-1 happen. But, the Pistons legend’s influence cannot be denied.

Isiah Thomas once praised MJ for making the NBA a profitable business

It is true Isiah Thomas was and has never been a big fan of Michael Jordan. But even he had to admit that MJ was the reason behind the NBA’s financial success. Even claiming in an interview that he and many players are still profiting off of the Jordan effect.

They may not have liked each other, and they probably still don’t. However, it takes a big man to acknowledge the greatness of his enemy.

Also Read: Michael Jordan’s son Jeffrey Jordan and Nike Veteran’s Environmentally Sustainable Sportswear Brand is taking on Billion Dollar Giants 

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About the author
Nithin Joseph

Nithin Joseph

Sports has been a huge part of Nithin's life ever since he was 10 years old. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Sports Management and as such has attempted to immerse himself in a variety of professional sports and sports leagues like the Premier League, NBA, and NFL. Having previously worked as a WWE content writer, Nithin now writes about the NBA, being a supporter of the Miami Heat and basketball as a sport.

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