In 1992, Isiah Thomas was surprisingly left out of the Olympics' "Dream Team" despite being one of the NBA's best point guards. While no reason for the Isiah Thomas Dream team snub was given, many wondered if it was, in truth, a Michael Jordan snub due to the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons rivalry. After the episodes 3 and 4 of Michael Jordan's documentary, The Last Dance released, fans began posing the question, 'Why was Isiah Thomas left off the Dream Team?' on social media, especially after Jordan revealed that he still hated the Pistons.
Why was Isiah Thomas left off the Dream Team? Though there have been no statements made, Michael Jordan's involvement in the Isiah Thomas Dream Team snub was suspected. While talking to a committee member of USA Basketball, Jordan reportedly said that he does not want to play if Isiah Thomas was on the team. Jordan, along with Scottie Pippen, apparently hated Thomas due to the Bulls-Pistons rivalry, especially taking a dislike to the way Thomas played. In a 2012 documentary about the Dream Team, Pippen had reportedly stated that he 'despised' how Thomas played, and he did not want him on the team.
Many people, including Dennis Rodman, believed that Thomas should have made it to the team. In a 2015 interview, Rodman stated that Thomas should have been on the team instead of Larry Bird. At the time, Bird was injured and could barely play. Rodman added that while they wanted to include Bird because 'he did so much for the game', Thomas would have helped the team more. Magic Johnson also spoke about the issue years later, stating that Thomas should definitely have been on the team. He added that in a team, everyone wanted the players to get along and 'hang out together'. As per Johnson, Thomas' competitiveness had apparently 'rubbed some of the guys the wrong way'.
According to NBA observer Jason Whitlock, the 1992 USA Basketball Committee wanted to include a few American players on the team. As a result, Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, and Shaquille O’Neal were not included in the team. In 2012, Whitlock had written about the Dream Team being 'colour coordinated'. While no one talked about it in public, Whitlock stated that people complained about it in private.
Zeke (@isiahthomas) shares his thoughts with us about the original Dream Team and his feelings about him NOT being on that team. @playerstribune @hennessyus @knuckleheadspodcast ✊🏾😎✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/LTWDFsjA62— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) March 25, 2020