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While most fans associate Stephen A. Smith with his polarizing takes on basketball, he is well known for one other thing as well. His unconditional support for 6x NBA champion Michael Jordan. However, that may have come to bite him back as the ESPN analyst recently shared a list of All-Time “small guards” runs in NBA history and he snubbed an important name: Isiah Thomas. Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, though, was having none of it and called out the analyst for his views.

Even Thomas himself took reminded Smith of his accolades. Fans who agreed with the 5x NBA champion managed to drag Thomas’ arch-rival, MJ, into the conversation as well.

On the latest segment of NBA Countdown, Smith revealed the list which is led by New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson’s current postseason run. It looks impressive overall. Kyrie Irving in 2016, Damian Lillard in 2019, Stephen Curry in 2015, and Allen Iverson in 2001 followed Brunson on the list. However, the Bad Boys Pistons star’s exclusion was noted by many, who is widely considered a pioneer for smaller guards in the league.


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While many criticized Smith, Magic decided to remind him of Thomas’ stunning performance in the 1988 NBA Finals against the Lakers. He noted that despite having his right ankle injured, Thomas was able to score 25 points in one quarter.

Pointing out Smith’s mistake on the matter, Johnson wrote, “Stephen A. you forgot Isiah Thomas scored 25 points in one quarter on an injured leg against my Showtime Lakers during the 1988 NBA Finals! How could you leave him off your All-Time Playoff small guard list?”

While the Pistons may have lost to the Lakers (103-102), Thomas’ performance couldn’t be denied its glory. And not just Magic Johnson, other members present on the show, Bob Myers, Mike Wilbon, and Malika Andrews, also seemed doubtful of Smith’s list. Furthermore, Thomas himself went on X and had some facts for Smith.

Thomas wrote, “Let it be known my @nba playoff run for a small point guard, the ONLY small PG that led his team to Back 2 Back titles as the teams leading SCORER and ASSIST.” And he is right. In the 1988-89 season, Thomas averaged 18.2 points and 8.3 assists in the postseason, leading the franchise to its first-ever title. However, his backcourt partner, Joe Dumars, was named the Finals MVP that year. Next season, Thomas again led the team in PPG and APG, averaging 20.5 points and 8.2 assists, winning the Finals MVP this time.

Interestingly, during both these championship runs, Thomas and the Pistons defeated MJ’s Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. Maybe that’s the reason why fans decided to drag His Airness‘ name into the conversation while thrashing Stephen A’s list.

Fans accuse Stephen A. Smith of being biased

Fans and netizens believe that Michael Jordan’s infamous beef with Thomas could be the reason behind the Pistons star’s snub from Smith’s list. 

One netizen assumed that Jordan must be bribing Smith to make such biased statements. While Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ rivalry with the Pistons and Thomas is known to many, this doesn’t seem to be a possibility. Still a comment read, “Jordan slipping him cash for that anti Isiah agenda.”

Numerous comments seemed to fire their shots at Jordan. Another fan claimed that probably Smith is scared of Jordan, hence the exclusion of Thomas. Interestingly, Smith has often stated that he’s one of the very few people who gets in touch with the private Jordan. The fan wrote, “Cause he knows Mike would call him and cuss him out.”


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Previously, Jordan’s former best friend Charles Barkley shared that Thomas was snubbed from the 1992 Dream team because of Jordan. Barkley felt Thomas should have made it in over John Stockton but had heard Michael Jordan didn’t want him on the team.

So naturally, one of the netizens also pointed out this matter and wrote, “Same reason he wasn’t on the dream team lol.”

Another claimed the reason to be because Smith is a Jordan fanboy. While Jordan doesn’t come out to reply to trolls, he seemingly used Smith to send out a message after Scottie Pippen repeatedly fired shots at his former teammate following his book release. Smith revealed that MJ was hurt and felt betrayed. That’s why one comment read, “You know why he a jordan fan boy.”


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Fans even called Smith out for not being a good analyst. While one wrote, “He’s (Smith) not a real expert,” another was irked by the list and wrote, “For real. I was yelling at my tv!!!!”

Do you agree with Magic Johnson or Stephen A. Smith? Let us know in the comments section below.