Isiah Thomas ranks Michael Jordan as fifth toughest player he faced: ‘I was dominant over him’

One of the more intriguing rivalries in NBA history is the still ongoing. Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan made it clear that they didn’t like each other during their playing days in the 1980s and 1990s, and even all these years later they still don’t care for one another. Now, Thomas is adding more fuel to the fire.

In an appearance on the latest episode of Shannon Sharpe’s podcast “Club Shay Shay,” Thomas ranked the five toughest players that he played against during his career. He ranked Jordan at No. 5, behind Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Julius Erving.

But it wasn’t just the ranking that can be seen as shade. Thomas added that he believed he was “dominant” against MJ.

“Just head-to-head, I was dominant over him,” Thomas told Sharpe. “Until ’91, when I basically had career-ending wrist surgery, up until then, my record against him and his team—it really wasn’t competition there.”

The Pistons were one of the league’s best teams in the 1980s, as they were in the Eastern Conference Finals in five consecutive seasons from 1987 to 1991.

During the 1989 and 1990 seasons, the Pistons got the better of the Bulls and won both of their meetings in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Finals in each of those two seasons to win back-to-back NBA titles.

However, the Bulls finally defeated the Pistons in 1991 in order to reach the NBA Finals. Jordan and the Bulls would go on to win three consecutive NBA titles from 1991 to 1993.

“He just wasn’t my competition,” Thomas recalled explained. “My focus was Bird, Magic, Dr. J [Julius Erving], Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Those were the guys. I don’t care what anybody says. You can go back and look at history — those were the guys.”

Jordan has been pretty open about his disdain for Thomas and Detroit, admitting that he “hated” the Pistons during ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary series that aired earlier this year. Jordan as called Thomas an “a–hole” at one point in the documentary.

It’s clear at this point that the bad blood isn’t ever going away.


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