“Humble” Isiah Thomas Admits He Could Only Win When Michael Jordan Made a Mistake: ”Just Like When I Was Playing Against Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar”

Published 01/14/2022, 1:30 PM EST


Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons is arguably one of the biggest rivals of Michael Jordan. They shared a fierce rivalry that goes on till today. Jordan has gone on to mention in ‘The Last Dance’ documentary how he still has a hatred for Thomas. In a recent podcast with Kevin Durant, Isiah Thomas opens up regarding Jordan.

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During the podcast, he mentions how he feels Jordan is a better player. Thomas even goes to the extent of admitting he only won battles when MJ made a mistake. 

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 13: Former NBA player Isiah Thomas attends NBAPA All-Star Youth Summit: Real Talk on February 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Isiah Thomas talks about Michael Jordan

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Talking on the Boardroom podcast with Kevin Durant, Thomas talks about playing against the guys gifted with physicality.

Isiah Thomas says, ” I’m the little man, and Kevin [Kevin Durant] is blessed with genetic gifts that I don’t have. You gonna always pick a 6’10, 6’11 scale over 6’1. That’s the nature of the game. That does not mean I’m not gonna go out and compete.”

He adds, ” At the same time when I’m playing someone like Kevin Durant, just like against Magic, Jordan, Bird, and Kareem. If the guys don’t make mistakes, and I can’t outthink them, then I can’t beat them.

Despite not having the physicality of others, Thomas was known for his shooting prowess. Although he might be humble enough to call Jordan the better player, Thomas managed to pose a lot of problems for MJ during their playing days.

How was Thomas as a player?

Isiah Thomas played 13 seasons for the Detroit Pistons. He became the all-time leader in points, assists and games played for the franchise. Thomas was the driving force behind the ‘Bad Boy Pistons’, the fiercest rivals of the Chicago Bulls.

Despite having a height disadvantage, Isiah Thomas did not let it hamper his game. His shooting and passing abilities were adored by all. He retired with an average of  19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 9.3 assists per game.

Isiah Thomas vs Michael Jordan head-to-head

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Although there is no doubt who has the better career amongst the two, Isiah Thomas managed to be the biggest problem the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan faced.

Jordan has 6 NBA championships to his name while Thomas has 2. Despite Jordan having the better numbers, Isiah Thomas leads the head-to-head match record 24-19 versus Jordan. The Detroit Pistons and Thomas also managed to beat the Chicago Bulls in three consecutive postseasons. (Source: landofbasketball.com)

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WATCH THIS STORY: Top 5 Most Fierce Rivals of Michael Jordan

What is your favorite memory of Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan’s rivalry? Let us know in the comments below.

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Abhinava Ghosh

162 articles

Abhinava is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. Abhinava has been following NBA for the past 6 years and is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry.

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