Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at 9:40 am  |  51 responses

Isiah Thomas Responds to Criticism in Dream Team Documentary

The highly-anticipated Dream Team doc aired last night on NBATV (you can watch it online if you missed it), and Isiah Thomas released a classy statement, as his exclusion from the legendary team continues to be a sore point 20 years later. From the Detroit Free Press: “Here’s Thomas’ statement that he posted on the Internet Wednesday night: ‘Today, like all Americans, I congratulate the Dream Team on their anniversary. I am proud of my career in the NBA and have fond memories of going head to head with all the members of the Team. I can’t speak to the selection process as I wasn’t involved. But 20 years later, their gold medal is still a momentous achievement.’ [...] ‘I would have had Isiah on the team,’ NBA commissioner David Stern said. ‘He’s one of the great talents, a Hall of Famer, who had two championships and was on the cusp of a third. And he played that position (point guard) in some ways like no one ever played it, or has since. He’s one of our great players.’”

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  • Magic fan

    stii was a dirty player. he punched bird in the chest for what?

  • bdogg

    great talent no doubt..HOF..sure but dream team has team as the second word…no one wanted him on it. show some sportsmaanship..that counts…he did not and it cost him! period!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Why is everyone acting like the guys that made the team were some kind of great role-models off the court. Didn’t Barkley spit on a fan? Isn’t MJ considered to be a notorious jacka** off the court? Let’s not act like those cats were the second coming of Mother Theresa and Isiah was Hitler Jr.

  • Ev

    I want to know what he really thought

  • Ev

    I want to know what he really thought

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Cosign JT

  • bike

    That is obviously, not really what he thinks.

  • LA Huey

    Let’s not forget that Bird is a sh*tty father and we know how Magic contracted HIV…
    I liked Glide and Admiral though. Classy dudes.

  • Bt

    Him torching Stockton the following season was the only response needed

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Thomas >>>>>>>> Stockton…8 days a week.

  • carl

    Drexler spoke to Stephen A Smith how he felt Isiah should have been on the team and how players did and shouldnt have blackballed him..crazy how people wanna crucify one guy and will turn a black eye to anyone else for the same thing..zeke was a dirty player? How about stockton? Malone? ..off the court issues? Google anyone on that roster and im sure youll find something..

  • crooklyn

    Isiah woulda fit in with most everyone on that team, either as a winner on the court or a jerk off the court. Shame that haters rule this world. Glass houses

  • Sparker

    vs stockton. check the stats. and isiah was and continues to be a world class douche.

  • Cgi

    Lets not forget ChrisMullin shouldn’t of been there either….says DominqueWilkins ….smdh

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    None of those guys are outstanding role models. I think the fact that Zeke beat some of the key guys *cough cough Mike/Scottie*, and wasn’t at all humble about got their panties in a bunch. They could never get over it.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    obviously it’s not what he thinks, but i give him a thumbs up for releasing the statement. not that we’ll forgive him for ruining the CBA/Knicks/errything he touched after his playing days just because he didn’t come out and voice what he really feels.
    btw, that link to the documentary is dead. anyone else caught it? how was it? also, where can we watch this for those who don’t have NBAtv? Lifetime? BET?

  • berrypeterson

    @charlieswinning you are a fool if you think Jordan and Pippen were bitter . The bulls swept them in 91′ and isiah Walked off the court before time had even expired without shaking any hands. If any one was bitter or had their panties in a knot , it was that man .

  • LA Huey

    albie1kenobi, I’m just waiting patiently for DVD release and watch it with my family and crew on a slow fall weekend.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    check youtube. i’m sure someone is/will post it in multiple parts

  • kidsilk

    Isiah was an ass, I think all the others didn’t want Zeke on the team is because: He didn’t kiss the butts of Mike, Magic, & Bird!! He wanted to win, and wanted to beat them all, so why bow down to the all mighty Mike, Magic, & Bird.

    As far as the CBA is concerned, it went under and fell through because he bought it, had an idea that is being used now, and the NBA said no to it, helped sink it, the developed the D league for itself! So, blame David Stern and NBA for that one too! Knicks, yeah, that is all him!!!LOL!

    Stockton stats were better, because he played longer, and Stockton is a great player, but as far as ’92 is concerned, Stockton couldn’t hold a candle to Zeke!! The guy took a motley group of guys and went to 3 finals in a row, and won 2! But for me, Stockton can be on the team, I’m speaking about Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, who, up to that point, wasn’t all that good.

    People, tend to remember the bad incidents after his playing days, (Knicks, CBA, and anything else), but walking off the court is wrong, and very unsportsmanlike, but what about others incidents on and off the court?? Free pass because, the media and other selfish players made you believe it wasn’t them. Since Garnett and Rondo just walked off the court, and didn’t shake hands should they be hated?? Should LeBron be left off the team, when he walked off the court against Boston, his last day in Cleveland?? People do dumb, impulsive things all the time, it’s us being human!

  • tpathi1

    hey thats just the way the world works..if you rub the greatest (MJ) and Pip the wrong way..you gonna get blackballed…you’ll never have to worry about this in the NBA era we are in today…nowadays everyone is a bunch of friends, and work out together and have to communicate in the summer and sleep over each others houses…nowadays these ball players are really just trying to take the consumers money at all costs, they cant be seen or perceived as a ‘bully’ or ‘arrogant’ or not humble

  • Dee

    Zeke paid the price for being last of the tough NBA players. It took Jordan and Pippen growing a pair before finally getting past those Pistons. The Badboy Pistons were as tough as any team in NBA history and he was the leader. Thanks to rules changing, you’ll never see a team or players like that again. Zeke is one of the best players at his position and leaving him off the Dream Team was as silly as Dominque Wilkins being left of the top 50 list. Its’ funny how players are now owning up to keeping him off the team once Zeke began damaging his image (in the most peoples eyes). NBA hall of famers shouldn’t throw rocks in glass houses, its’ not a good look! He’s simply the best pure point guard in NBA history period! How would Magic have felt if they left him off the team b/c of HIV? I’m a diehard Laker and Magic Johnson fan but the decision makers and players were wrong for doing that.

  • tpathi1

    Dee, the rules changed cause the players sucked post jordan era! In 2005 the talent pool in the NBA got re-stocked, and now the powers that be need to change the rules back to the way bball should be played!

  • http://blackamericaweb.com charliewinning

    berrypeterson, they got the win over him after a few tries. He won championships getting by them. Of course they held grudges. If you think winning was suddenly going to make their feelings go away then you neither watched any of those playoffs nor heard any of their commentary.

  • Brian

    In fairness to the Dream Team selection process, when has the NBA ever made special allocations for the best player on a should be 3 in a row title team to be featured in something?

  • Brian

    David Stern is talking out of both sides of his mouth here because if he wanted Zeke on the team then he would have been there. He chose Jordan and the $$$ instead.

  • russian guy

    SIGN JT! Isiah deserved to be on that team,as he deserves to be the first mention as the second best point guard of all time.

  • bmorezbest

    clearly any of ya’ll cmomenting that isaiah should”ve been on the team didnt see the documentary of course nobodies perfect but thomas clearly at the moment they was pickin the team had pulled the walking off the court stunt and mike clearly states the decision came from higher he made his bed and had to lay in it thats why the humble statement cuz what else cuold he say?, he know he was a jerk for storming off the court without congratulating mike after they tried to punk the bulls for a second straight year and the plan failed yall bringin google and all this n that into play clearly it was bad timing for a poor sportsman everybody knew it thats why his coach didnt lobby for him to be on the team and he was the coach

  • sam

    @Magic Fan, a dirty player? The team was the Bad Boys! It wasn’t just one dirty player, the team was badass and got the job done and didn’t let anyone punk them.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    honestly, if there were twitter and blogging 20 years ago, i can almost bet the general public would HATE at least half the Dream Teamers. Lebron and Kobe may in fact be viewed as saints comparatively.

  • Brian

    The Bulls led by MJ claimed the Pistons were “bad for basketball” because they couldn’t beat them which is why they stormed off the court. If you took the Pistons out of Detroit and placed them in NY then he would have been on the team.

  • Dee

    The sad part about this outside of Isiah not making the team is he didn’t need to be a “dirty player” He was just that good! Prior to the Pistons being the BadBoys, you had both the Lakers and Celtics who had hired goons on their teams. Magic & Bird didn’t like each other or the teams they played for. MJ was not accepted by most superstars when he first got into the league. His work ethic and winning championships forced the league & its’ stars to accept him. As for Isiah, he was under the radar and not appreciated but how can you argue against 2 allstar mvp’s (when the best was doing it!) 3 trips to the finals, winning back to back and going through teams like the Celtics, Lakers, Blazers, Bucks & Bulls. His post career might be suspect but during his time as a player, please give me another point guard better than him…I’ll wait.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ JTaylor: You’re right of course… Although Mother Theresa was kind of a terrible person in her own right. Probably did more damage than either of those Dream Team jerks combined.

  • Ray

    1. The pistons walked off the court after the bulls won because the bulls said the pistons were bad for basketball and never deserved to win back to back titles because they cheated…i.e. played tough basketball. Shoot, you want me to respect you by shaking your hand after you calling us cheaters and not worth playing? um, no…… Now obviously, if you just watched, Garnett and Rondo walked off the court after the heat won without shaking hands. Even before the game was over. Nobody is getting their panties in a wad over that. But Jordan and Scottie “headaches” Pippen cried foul.

    2. Isiah was the president of the players association for years. Voted in by the players because they knew that little sob was super competitive. Everyone was happy. Now Jordan and the rest of the crybabies would get mad at Isiah because he was competitive on the court. So much MORE competitive than jordan or pippen or the other players. He had to be to make up for this size.

    3. All these punks have lied for so many years and only now can tell the truth. Imagine how much their mothers did not raise them well enough to be honest.

    4. Games played, Isiah’s team, against all of their teams, won more than they lost. Isaiah beat them more than they beat him. So this was their petty way.

    5. Isiah was going to be at the olympics 80 but the games were boycotted. The SO CALLED “Dream” team boycotted him because he was too competitive and it was the only way to beat him.

    Jordan, Pippen, Malone, Earvin…..who on that list didn’t cheat on their wives and disrespect their families?

    6. And by the way, after Isiah went off on Stockton for 40 points, Karl Malone decided he would go out of his way to elbow Isiah and attempt to injur him. Classy move by Malone…Are you shocked he never won a championship? A bully, not a champ.

    As a fan of BASKETBALL, I feel cheated. Instead of putting out the DREAM team, they put out a lesser team they called the dream.

    Funny, Earvin dropped Isiah as a friend because he manager said he heard a ‘rumor’ that Isiah questioned if earvin was doing gay things to get aids. Isiah has always denied that. But he didn’t feel so bad as to not cheat on his wife all those years.

    Jordan is a p00sy. pippen, couldn’t do squat without jordan. malone never won anything. I wonder who would have won more titles……put Isiah on the lakers and put earvin on the pistons.

    Petty Jealousy. I don’t want you around because your too competitive, I’d rather take a chance on losing than have the BEST players on the team.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Leave it to Teddy to call out Mother Theresa.

  • http://slamonline.com 19821982
  • Dee

    @ Ray. Man you should’ve yelled “Uno” ,”Check Mate” or somthing after dropping all them gems…the only thing I’d argue is that without Pippen, I don’t think Jordan would have six rings. His defense on Magic during the Finals (and injury to Worthy) got them their first ring. And its’ no coincidence they both have the same amount of rings. He’s a Hall Of Famer. Other than that, I enjoyed the read.

  • truthteller

    Everybody talks about Isiah being an ass? What about Charles barkley? Was there anybody iin the NBA at the time who was more controversial than Charles? Yet, he made the team. So why didn’t isiah? It should’ve never come down to isiah and MJ. They played 2 different positions. Isiah and Stockton is more like it and if you want to compare the two, who would you hinestly take? Come on guys be truthful? John Stockton or isiah Thomas?

  • Brian

    @ truthteller, it wasn’t Isiah vs Stockton. It was have Isiah on the team and Jordan would not have played which would cut into the money.

    Jordan is full of it when he says the decision came from above. I am a Celtic fan, but you can’t have a dream team without the 25 pt quarter man.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Zeke is the greatest point guard ever to play in the NBA to me. MJ is a punk for acting like a girl and didn’t want a strong competitor that would not suck up to AIR Jordan. This is why I loved Isiah game, he did not care who you were, he was coming to kill and win. BOOK IT!!

  • robb

    I never liked Isiah’s personality, but as a player the man was incredible.

  • robb

    and Teddy-the-Bear is right about Mother T.

  • Niio

    Well anyone else disappointed that they barely covered the game they lost to the college players? The way slam hyped it up I thought we were going to watch the whole game not just a 30 second clips of that game

  • http://nba.com Vlad

    Shaq over Laettner

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I enjoyed Ray’s comment and agreed with most of it.

  • truthteller

    It never should have come down to Jordan and isiah. That’s BS. They don’t play the same position! Whoever did that knew that if it came down to MJ and Zeke, Zeke would definatley lose. But what if it came down to Zeke and Stockton? Who do you think would lose that? Exactly!And the powers that be wanted Stockton to make the team. So they set it up between Mj and Zeke! Maybe there is some truth to what MJ said about that decision coming from “upper management”

  • Blah

    Isiah didn’t make the team because:

    A) He was a dirty player. The guy lead the Piston’s image, as Pippen said in the documentary. The last thing Team USA wanted was Isiah starting a fight with someone and representing the country badly.

    B) He is not likeable. MJ being hated? Is that why Chuck Daily, Magic,Robinson, Barkley, etc are all good friends with him? Barkley not being likeable? Is that why people in the documentary say he is a great person and incredibly great friend? People just didn’t like Isiah, they hated him. The guy is a racist, ignorant ***hole. Plain and simple.

    C) Stockton was waaay better at the time. One just has to look at the stats from the 90-91 season to see that.

  • BostonBaller

    motley crew. hahahahahhaa Once again our opinions are formed by who we like better. Zeke should have been on the team. A lot of the ones who made the team had their issues also. Everyone has their take on what happened and why when the Pistons left the court. It’s easy to say who would have won chips if this or that happened. Dom should or should not have made it..he didn’t b/c he was born in France or was it b/c he was a hi-lite/athletic player and they had enough athletes and hi-lites. Zeke was better than Stock. Guys didn’t like Zeke b/c he was a better winner or more competitive. It was upper management. blah bl;ah blah blah. The one thing we do know is that Shaq should have made it over Laetner even then.

  • Blah

    For the love of god, no one had a problem with him being competitive. If that were the case, Jordan wouldn’t be on the team. The guy is not likeable, and had both a terrible attitude and terrible sportsmanship. Watch the documentary and you will realize that is why he was left off the team. It wasn’t Jordan’s decision, as the selection committee and the USA Basketball execs make it perfectly clear they didn’t want someone like Isiah on the team, because he would give the country a bad image.

  • Mac

    Even if Thomas >> Stockton; Stockton + dream team player X >>>>>>>>>> Thomas + dream team player X 9 days a week, fool. And that’s why it was Stockton.

  • Bird Rules

    I like Zeke, My favorite pass he ever made was to Bird !