Isiah Thomas is considered one of the best point guards in the history of the game. Thomas developed exceptional basketball skills at an early age and became a highly sought-after college prospect. After helping the U.S. team win the gold medal in the Pan-American Games in 1979, he entered Indiana University, leading the Hoosiers to a national championship in 1981. He then entered the NBA draft and was the second overall pick, selected by the Detroit Pistons. Together with center Bill Laimbeer, shooter Joe Dumars and the men for the dirty work Rick Mahorn and Dennis Rodman, he formed the Bad Boys, a league dreaded troupe, which played the toughest, most aggressive and in the opinion of many, even the dirtiest basketball in NBA history.
But the style of play was perfect for the working-class city of Detroit. Though considered small, standing 6 feet 1 inch tall, Thomas proved himself to be a dominant player on the strength of his ball-handling skills and his fearless drives to the basket. Even today, “Zeke” is considered to be perhaps the best ball handler of all time, who was able to pull to the basket at any time and from any situation. In 1988 he led Detroit to the NBA finals, narrowly losing the title to the Los Angeles Lakers. Still, there is the story of the legendary Game 6 of the Finals in 1988, when Thomas sprained his ankle badly but returned to the floor and scored 25 points in the final quarter.
In 1989 and 1990, Thomas and the Pistons took the title to Motown. The #11 spent all of his active career in Detroit, winning 12 All-Star nominations, NBA Finals MVP award, and making it into the NBA First team three times. During his 13-year career, Thomas became the Pistons’ all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and games played. He was also the fourth NBA player to reach more than 9,000 assists. Thomas was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.