In the early days of the pandemic, the majority of the sports-watching world had our eyes glued to ESPN each Sunday for a new installment of the cultural phenomenon that was The Last Dance. Not only did we get to relive the NBA’s golden age in the 1990s, we learned all sorts of new tidbits about the dynamics between some its central characters.
It confirmed many of our long-held assumptions about Michael Jordan’s tyrannical reign over the Bulls and deepened the mythology surrounding him as a myopic and maniacal competitor. And because of that competitive nature, it left no shortage of casualties along the way.
Perhaps his biggest beef — which we learned remains to this day — was with the Bad Boy Pistons and specifically Isiah Thomas, who Jordan famously ensured was left off of the 1992 Dream Team that took the world by storm in Barcelona. By his own admission, Jordan has never forgiven Thomas for leaving the court early and refusing to shake hands after the Bulls finally defeated them in the playoffs in 1991.
According to Thomas, he was surprised while watching the documentary to learn Jordan still harbored such hard feelings toward him.
.@IsiahThomas says he watched ‘The Last Dance’ with “great fascination and disappointment”
“It seems like it was only one person that had a problem [with me on the Dream Team], and that was Jordan. Until I watched ‘The Last Dance,’ I didn’t realize MJ felt that way about me.” pic.twitter.com/IDIFS09WcF
— Club Shay Shay (@ClubShayShay) November 11, 2020
Thomas, of course, also appeared in the 10-part series, and in the episode dedicated to their rivalry, he tried to downplay that infamous moment during the playoffs, which resulted in arguably the greatest viral moment of 2020 as we watched Jordan’s response to that scene and the endless memes that followed it.
Even if this beef remains primarily one-sided on Jordan’s part, it’s not likely to go away anytime soon, as His Airness is notorious for holding onto lifelong grudges. Still, it’s nice to see that it apparently doesn’t bother Thomas all that much.