Isiah Thomas Heavily Criticized in Dream Team Documentary

by June 12, 2012
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Plenty of hype has been built around the Dream Team doc airing on NBATV tomorrow night (9pm EST), and rightfully so. One of the more under-played aspects of the program to this point, however, is the criticism of Isiah Thomas – who was famously left off the team – by some of the Dream Teamers. Per the NY Post: “In a sneak preview shown at The NBA Finals for media Monday night, Michael Jordan reveals one of the ‘stipulations’ for him joining the Dream Team was having his Pistons rival not included but claimed the sentiment also came from the top. It has been long speculated Jordan kept Thomas off the club but the documentary reveals the snub ran deeper than just MJ. Jordan’s Bulls teammate, Scottie Pippen, also said he didn’t want Thomas on the club. ‘I despised how he played the game,’ Pippen said of Thomas. Pippen charged that Thomas spearheaded Detroit’s ‘Bad Boys’ and incited the rough play. ‘Isiah was the general,’ Pippen said. ‘He was the guy who would yap at his teammates and say ‘Kick them on their ass. Do whatever you have to do.’ No, I didn’t want him on the Dream Team.’ When asked if Jordan wanted Thomas on the 1992 Olympic club at the Barcelona Olympics, Pippen said, ‘I can’t speak for Michael but I don’t think he wanted him on the team.’ Jordan said in his interview that he was reluctant to join the Dream Team because he had a bad first Olympic experience as part of the college group and treasured his offseason. But he came around after Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin, David Robinson, among others, were all in. ‘That was one of the stipulations put to me that Isiah wasn’t part of the team,’ Jordan said. ‘I was getting strong innuendos it wasn’t just…it was coming from a higher place who didn’t want Isiah on the team.’ Former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said Thomas was not considered because of the incident at the end of the recent Bulls-Pistons playoff series in which he had his teammates bolt the court before the final buzzer. It was seen as a lack of sportsmanship. ‘We were picking a group just after the Pistons had been eliminated by the Bulls,’ Granik said. ‘It was very bad timing for Isiah. Everyone had that impression in their mind, the picture of Isiah walking off the court.’ Rod Thorn, part of the Olympic selection committee and who drafted Jordan, said, ‘When the Pistons walked off the court before the final bell, it left a lot of bad taste in a lot of people’s minds.’ NBA TV officials said Monday a strong effort was made to get Thomas to participate in the documentary to give his side but he declined.”