NBA Legend Isiah Thomas Credits Former Rival Michael Jordan For ‘Expanding the Boundaries’ of Basketball World

Published 11/18/2020, 9:06 AM EST
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during the 1997 McDonald’s Championship. (Photo by Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)


Other than the Kobe BryantShaquille O’Neal feud, which other rivalry is the fiercest in NBA’s history? It has to be the one between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas. The Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons and the Chicago Bulls hated losing to one another.

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The rivalry was so intense that the Detroit Pistons even had specific strategies that helped contain Jordan, which they called “Jordan Rules”. It had all began after the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls had lost to the Pistons for two straight years, and the “Bad Boys” were looking for a three-peat. But the Bulls didn’t let that happen and destroyed them.

What came after was an incident that can never be forgotten. The dejected Detroit Pistons walked off without shaking hands with the Bulls. This led to Jordan and Thomas going public with their grievances and hate, which started an endless beef that keeps erupting even today.

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Surprisingly, in a recent interview, Thomas had splendid things to say about his rival., MJ.

Respect for Michael Jordan

On ‘ShowTime’, Michael Cooper asked Thomas about Jordan and he said, “Michael Jordan. I mean, unbelievable. Gifted, talented, the most. I mean, could we have never seen an athlete like him and Ollie? Yeah, no, it was Dr. J. But then Jordan came in and it was like, we can’t keep up with him when he was on the ground.

“But when he jumped, yeah, you know, Michael Jordan became an unbelievable champion. Not only did he become an unbelievable champion, for what he did for game coupe, he took our game and, and, and not only domestically improved it, but internationally introduced the game on a global scale that made it all possible for us to really earn the type of livings that we earn in, he exploded with basketball.”

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Despite the endless GOAT debate between LeBron James and Michael Jordan, Thomas thinks these two players are ones we should thank for the way they have contributed to the league’s growth.

“I mean, there, there are two players that I think you really have to give credit to for expanding the boundaries of the basketball world, that’s Michael Jordan and LeBron James. What they have done internationally for sport and monetarily for sport? You know, there’s no there’s been no two players like them before,” stated Thomas.

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What a nice change of pace to see Thomas talk so highly of his rival, Jordan. A rivalry we thought would never end.

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Yashima Bhatia

1803 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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