Former NBA Champion Reveals His Strategy For Beating Michael Jordan and Other NBA Legends: “I Was Really Just Trying To Figure Out How We Can Beat Them, Knowing We Didn’t Have The Type of Talent That They Had”

Published 01/12/2022, 10:19 PM EST
Michael Johnson #23, shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls prepares to make a shot during a Central Division game in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) 1988 – 1989 season at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, United States. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images)


The Chicago Bulls were the best team in their dynasty years. Led by Michael Jordan, the Bulls conquered the NBA and did not miss a single step along the way. Winning six championships in a span of just eight years, they were the talk of the town. However, everyone has a achilles heel, and for Jordan that was the Detroit Pistons. They denied Jordan multiple shots at the title. Recently, Pistons legend Isiah Thomas revealed his strategy for defeating teams like the Bulls.

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Thomas was one of the leading player of the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons. The point guard had all the skills on the court and had the ferocious nature that suited the Pistons’ play style. But what it ultimately came down to was his competitive nature. He was willing to do anything to win and that included studying other teams.

The Bulls’ Michael Jordan drives to the basket as teammate Dennis Rodman and the Clippers’ Loy Vaught(left) look on during game at Sports Arena earlier this season. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

It was because of this that Thomas was able to matchup against Michael Jordan and the Bulls. While speaking to Kevin Durant, the Hall of Famer revealed what strategy he used to defeat the legendary teams.

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How Isiah Thomas beat Michael Jordan and other legends

While speaking on the ‘The Etcs’ podcast, Isiah Thomas spoke about the teams that inspired him when he came into the league. He named teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics because they were the champions at that time. Hence, he started studying these teams’ weaknesses without realizing the significance. He later used this exact strategy when he came in the league and that helped him win back to back championships and beat some of the toughest teams around.

He said: “I was just really in the moment focused on the goal. I was a big fan of the Sixers, the Lakers, the Celtics at that time because those were the champions in my era.” Thomas further explained, “So I was studying those teams trying to figure out how to beat them not understanding the significance of what their place in history would be. And also what my place in history would be and our team’s place. So I was really just trying to figure out how we can beat them , knowing we didn’t have the type of talent that they had.”

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While it wasn’t that the Pistons didn’t have talent on their team. But they were still young and the other teams had stars established on their team. Hence, with Thomas’ strategy, he did study their weak points and applied that within the Pistons. He attacked those places which helped him succeed against the premier teams at the time.

While the Pistons do receive criticism for coming up with the ‘Jordan rule’, they still had to beat the rest of the Bulls team. Going up against players like Scottie Pippen and Ron Harper is still a hard task. Moreover, it is the defeat against the Pistons that helped Michael rise beyond his game. Hence, they hold a big place in the history of basketball and one of its finest players.

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8 months ago

What do you think of the Bad Boy Pistons? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

698 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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