The Bad Boy Pistons stopped the Chicago Bulls three consecutive years in a row in the eastern conference Playoffs from 1988-1990. Young Air Jordan could not seem to find a way around the Isiah Thomas & Company — Pistons would crush the Bulls' dreams year in and year out.
Back in 1990, Michael Jordan made a guest appearance in The Arsenio Hall Show. The two talked all things basketball and MJ shared a few anecdotes about his game. Although he averaged remarkable numbers in the last few seasons, and the basketball world was slowly but surely falling in love with him — Mike had yet to win a championship and prove himself.
Arsenio had just interviewed Isiah Thomas earlier that year and decided to share a clip from that episode with MJ. It is widely known that there was a certain level of animosity between the two every time they played. The Bulls and Pistons fought many fierce battles, and Mike and Isiah were always the two generals on opposing sides, so one would assume they disliked each other.
However, Isiah gave Mike a compliment he'll probably never forget.
He's unbelievable in terms of his quickness, his strength, his jumping ability, his touch, and also his knowledge and understanding of the game. He's by far the best I've ever seen, and Erving is my boy. But you know Air, he's real sweet. I mean the dude, you see what he be doin.
Game recognizes game. Little did Isiah know that Mike was about to start one of the most iconic dynasties in the history of basketball and win three championships in a row.
Mike was genuinely pleased with what he'd heard. Can't blame him; after all, the reigning champion of the world just called him the best player he ever saw.
I think that's something to be proud about. If you have the respect of your peers, it goes a long way — far greater than any championship you may win.