The latest episodes of Michael Jordan's documentary, The Last Dance, explored the tension between Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan. Thomas, who was the part of Pistons' Bad Boy era, had a long-standing heated rivalry with Jordan during the late 1980s. Thomas even helped Pistons win the NBA championship in 1989 and 1990 before surrendering the title in 1991 to the Bulls. In the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, where Bulls beat the Pistons, Isiah Thomas exited the arena after the match without shaking hands with Jordan and the entire Bulls team.
Almost three decades since the incident, Jordan still holds a grudge against Thomas, which was highlighted in the documentary. Even NBA fans flocked to social media to criticise the Pistons legend. However, instead of directing their hate towards Isiah Thomas, some fans criticised free agent Isaiah Thomas.
The Isaiah Thomas Isiah Thomas confusion was quite evident from the various social media posts. So much so that, Isaiah Thomas was even forced to take to Twitter to clear some of the confusion. But is Isaiah Thomas related to Isiah Thomas? No, but Isiah Thomas was apparently key behind the naming of Isaiah Thomas.
Y’all be tweeting me mad at me like I was tryna hurt Jordan lol— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) April 27, 2020
In 1988, James Thomas, father of Isaiah Thomas, had a bet with his close friend that Los Angeles Lakers would beat the Pistons in the NBA Finals in 1989. James Thomas, a Lakers fan, put the name of his firstborn at stake. Lakers entered the Finals after a 4-0 pounding of Pheonix Suns while Pistons beat Bulls 4-2. Despite boasting a roster including the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, the Pistons led by Isiah Thomas comfortable secured a 4-0 win in the series and thereby lifted the 1989 NBA championship. James Thomas was then forced to name his son after the Pistons legend - the only difference being their different spellings. The name and the subsequent confusion stuck with Isaiah Thomas, who played with Celtics, Lakers, Nuggets before being waived off by the Wizards earlier this year.
The heated rivalry between Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan was brought back to the limelight in Jordan's documentary. Addressing the rivalry, Jordan had some not-so-kind words for the Pistons legend, "You can show me anything you want. It's no way you can convince me he wasn't an a****le."
The rivalry between Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan ended up costing the former as he was snubbed from the 1992 USA Olympics basketball team, now dubbed as The Dream Team. Speaking to ESPN, the two-time NBA champion, addressed the snub stating it hurts now more than ever. Isiah Thomas even appeared keen to bury the hatchet with Jordan as he admitted both would probably do things differently if offered the chance.
"Looking back, if I'm not a part of the Dream Team because a lapse in emotion in terms of not shaking someone's hand ... then I am more disappointed today than I was back then."— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 27, 2020
Isiah Thomas is still "hurt" that he was left off the Dream Team. pic.twitter.com/YkRt8zIY09