‘Dont Need to Shake Hands’: Isiah Thomas’ Former Pistons Teammate Reveals Why He Refuses to Apologize to Michael Jordan

Published 07/02/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Michael Jordan during Michael Jordan Hosts 2005 Jordan Classic Dinner – April 14, 2005 in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)


The ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons were one of the most physical NBA teams. As their name suggests, they were not the friendliest of the guys on the court. On the Dan Le Batard Show, Rick Mahorn was asked about the Pistons, Michael Jordan, and the Bulls. He was also asked about the famous handshake incident between the Bulls and the Pistons in the 1991 Conference Finals.

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Rick Mahorn speaks about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls

Former Bad Boy, Rick Mahorn spoke about the incident when the Pistons walked off the court without shaking hands after their loss. He said, “F**k them… I’d have been kicking ass all from one to twelve. Nobody would have got none of it… I don’t need to shake hands when I lose a championship, man, forget that. Y’all have pissed me off and I am about to get off.” 

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The Pistons beat the Bulls in the playoffs for three years straight from 1988 to 1990. In 1991, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls came prepared and finally beat the Pistons to advance to the finals in 1991. Surprisingly, with 7.9 seconds left on the clock, Pistons’ Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, and Mark Aguirre walked off the court without waiting to shake hands with the Bulls. Notably, Joe Dumars and John Salley were the only Pistons who shook hands with the Bulls.

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Isiah Thomas revealed that they walked off because of the Celtic’s behavior towards them in 1988. He detailed how Kevin McHale of the Celtics was a less than willing participant in the handshake. Isiah added that they were walking off the floor and he grabbed McHale, which is when he stopped and shook hands.

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The ‘Bad Boy’ era

The ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons were not a liked team in the league. They were famous for implementing the “Jordan rules” which were about using physical force to wear out Michael Jordan. They were a ruthless team that played extremely physically, with the way they played often seeming like a punishment for their opponents. The main ‘Bad Boys’ were Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Michael’s future teammate Dennis Rodman, and John Salley.

Even though they were a hated team, they only cared about winning. The Pistons won back-to-back championships in 1990 and 1991. What the league or anyone thought of them did not affect them, and they went on to embrace the name ‘Bad Boy’. It is also rumored that Isiah Thomas was not a part of the “Dream Team” in 1992 because Michael Jordan refused to play with him.

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What are your opinions of the Pistons’ ‘Bad Boy’ era?

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Anuj Talwalkar

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