Thomas says Jordan has always been pleasant in his presence, and that he long ago left their fierce competition where it belonged: on the basketball court.
Zeke adds that MJ is the fourth greatest player he ever faced.
Per CBS Sports:
“I was definitely surprised,” he says. “Because we’ve been in each other’s presence before, and I’ve never gotten that type of reaction from him. We were even at dinner a couple times and he was always pleasant. Always good to my kids. Always good to my son. He even gave my son a pair of gym shoes.
“The competition that we all had on the floor, I truly just thought it was on the floor.”
For Thomas, Jordan’s greatness too often overshadows the ’80s own version of historically great basketball, and its historically great players.
“When you put Jordan and his basketball team in the ’80s, they weren’t a very successful team,” he says. “They just weren’t. When you talk about Jordan and his team dominating, they dominated the ’90s. But when you put him with those Lakers teams and those Pistons teams and those Celtics teams, they all beat him. They just did.
“What separated Jordan from all of us was he was the first one to three-peat. But he didn’t three-peat against Magic [Johnson], Larry Bird and [Julius Erving].”