Author Topic: Isiah Thomas praises 1980s Celtics, says MJ wasn’t his competition  (Read 1443 times)

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Offline Roy H.

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Quote from: Isiah Thomas
When we were all young and healthy – from 84 to 90 – the numbers speak for themselves. He wasn’t really my competition. My competition was Bird and Magic, trying to catch the Celtics, trying to catch the Lakers. Chicago at that time, and Jordan at that time, from 84 to 90, before my wrist surgery, he just – that wasn’t my competition.

When Boston was at their absolute best, we gave them competition. But they were better than us. And as they got older, as they got a little bit more banged up, we were able to catch them. Now, what we were able to learn from Boston during that process – the Detroit Pistons, and every time you hear us talk about who were are, what we became, we do not mention ourselves as championships without saying the Boston Celtics. Because those were our teachers. Those were our mentors. Those are our people that really taught us how to win. And they gave us the heartaches.

When we got to go to the Finals and finally beat them, then I ran into another one of my mentors, which was Magic Johnson, who had let me become a student under him, learning how to win championships in the NBA, learning that Laker organization, learning that Celtic organization. And I’m sure all of you can look back and remember: You saw me at every NBA Finals game when the Celtics and the Lakers were playing. And not only was I there as a fan, but I was there as a student taking notes, learning how to win, how to put together an organization and, not just become a basketball player in the NBA, but become a champion.

And that’s what we became. We became a champion, and we were pretty dominant in our era.
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Offline KGs Knee

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Thomas isn't wrong.

Detroit won when Boston and LA got old/injured.  Chicago won when Detroit got old/injured.

I have no idea who would have won if they were all healthy and in their primes at the same time, but my guess is Detroit would have been the least likely to come out on top.

Offline GreenShooter

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Yes, it would have been real interesting had Bird and McHale not had serious injuries that prematurely ended their careers. But not only that, what if Len Bias did not O.D.? He did incredible things on the court. He could have been, at worst a Dominique Wilkins, or at best another Michael Jordan. You add a Bias to a healthy Celtics team and they win 3-4 more trophies.

Online hpantazo

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He's right, Bird and Magic were the two major rivals during the Bad Boy Pistons prime, BUT , we have to keep in mind that Isiah Thomas hates Jordan. He has a very well documented, longstanding beef with him.

Offline Ogaju

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He's right, Bird and Magic were the two major rivals during the Bad Boy Pistons prime, BUT , we have to keep in mind that Isiah Thomas hates Jordan. He has a very well documented, longstanding beef with him.


what exactly is the genesis of that beef? Pistons not congratulating the Bulls when they lost? Something else?

Online pearljammer10

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He's right, Bird and Magic were the two major rivals during the Bad Boy Pistons prime, BUT , we have to keep in mind that Isiah Thomas hates Jordan. He has a very well documented, longstanding beef with him.


what exactly is the genesis of that beef? Pistons not congratulating the Bulls when they lost? Something else?

Isn't it the other way around? From my perspective its Jordan that started the beef, starting from when they refused to shake hands, moving on to the Olympic team, and his recent Last Dance comments calling him an ****...

But maybe I'm missing something.

Offline Roy H.

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He's right, Bird and Magic were the two major rivals during the Bad Boy Pistons prime, BUT , we have to keep in mind that Isiah Thomas hates Jordan. He has a very well documented, longstanding beef with him.


what exactly is the genesis of that beef? Pistons not congratulating the Bulls when they lost? Something else?

Isn't it the other way around? From my perspective its Jordan that started the beef, starting from when they refused to shake hands, moving on to the Olympic team, and his recent Last Dance comments calling him an ****...

But maybe I'm missing something.

Jordan hates Thomas, but so did a lot of Dream Teamers.  Larry and Pippen hated him, and David Robinson had this to say:

Quote
"If you have a reputation and you take pride in your reputation as a 'Bad Boy' it kind of means people aren't going to like you," Robinson said, via NBC Sports. "Can you be that surprised when people say 'I don't really want to play with the 'Bad Boys?'

"When you talk about putting together a team, chemistry matters. It does," Robinson added. "You can't act like it doesn't matter and for that team it was clear that was a consideration for all the people involved." 
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Offline greg683x

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If you believe some of the stuff written out there A lot of people think Jordan hates Thomas because there was a rumor he came up with the idea to freeze Jordan out in an All star game in like 1986.  Ive never really heard about this before but apparently a bunch of vets conspired not to pass Jordan the ball in the game because they thought he had a big head and we’re jealous of how much attention he was getting in the mainstream media
Greg

Offline SHAQATTACK

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Even though i appreciated Isiah s great abilities,   he was one of my least fav players in the NBA back then.  I liked MJ much better .

Todays older and far more wiser version of Isiah comes off as a mostly likeable character .  He can clear the air with fans who never viewed whole seasons of him .   He seemed very controversial in what ever aspect of the league he was involved  .

The great dream team players would know better than fans if they thought he would be an asset or not given his personality.  The emotions and relationships were far more complexed at that point in time.  Could rivalry be put aside for the betterment of the team ? 

To add to my comment above ....i recall MJ statement  about not playing if Isiah was on the team .  Kudos for Roy uncovering that fact . I remember being shocked or scarded that MJ would not play , and i felt nobody could replace him of course   so if MJ wanted no Thomas ....then thats the way it had to be.  I would be willing to bet most of the team felt that way deep down .  MJ was their leader .

« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 12:14:19 PM by SHAQATTACK »

Offline Somebody

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Even though i appreciated Isiah s great abilities,   he was one of my least fav players in the NBA back then.  I liked MJ much better .

Todays older and far more wiser version of Isiah comes off as a mostly likeable character.  He can clear the air with fans who never viewed whole seasons of him .   He seemed very controversial in what ever aspect of the league he was involved  .

The great dream team players would know better than fans if they thought he would be an asset or not given his personality.  The emotions and relationships were far more complexed at that point in time.  Could rivalry be put aside for the betterment of the team ?
The bolded is so true lol, I've talked to multiple casual fans who feel that he's a very gentle lad by just looking at his persona nowadays :laugh:

Offline Roy H.

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Remember when MJ said on "The Last Dance" that he didn't have any specific involvement in blocking Isiah Thomas from being on the legendary dream team?

Yeah, well ... now audio has surfaced from an old interview in which MJ says straight-up he told 1992 Olympics selection committee member Rod Thorn he's OUT if Thomas makes the team.

It's all on Jack McCallum's 'The Dream Team Tapes' -- here's the transcription.

"Rod Thorn called me. I said, ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.' He assured me. He said, 'You know what? Chuck [Charles Barkley] doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team.'"

I wonder, is there any great player playing today that would have that many players not want to play with him?

I’m thinking maybe Dwight Howard from when he was still a star? 
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Offline petbrick

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Even though i appreciated Isiah s great abilities,   he was one of my least fav players in the NBA back then.  I liked MJ much better .

Todays older and far more wiser version of Isiah comes off as a mostly likeable character . 
My girlfriend really liked Reggie Miller (???) as a talking head during the film. 

It may come as a shock to none of you that she's not a basketball fan in the slightest.

Offline Somebody

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Even though i appreciated Isiah s great abilities,   he was one of my least fav players in the NBA back then.  I liked MJ much better .

Todays older and far more wiser version of Isiah comes off as a mostly likeable character . 
My girlfriend really liked Reggie Miller (???) as a talking head during the film. 

It may come as a shock to none of you that she's not a basketball fan in the slightest.
I think Reggie is really good for calling out off ball stuff, but he's absolute rubbish in most other stuff as a commentator.

Offline SHAQATTACK

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Basketball was like a war back in the MJ era and before. Guys didn't hug and kiss and make over each other. For this generation  A deep Bonding with your teamates was prime importance.  It seemed most guyssoon discovered a deep appreciation for each other , even if they rivals before.  The friction between MJ and Isiah was too much at that point to put aside.  I for one glade it worked out like it did ,  one of the NBA s finest moment to look back on for me.