Skip to main content

ISIAH ON THE 40 STITCHES INCIDENT "That was the cheapest sh*t in the history of the game"

Isiah Thomas explains why he lied about being 6'1" ahead of the NBA Draft

'The Mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays.' Well, neither did he on Tuesday in mid-December of '91. Due to a suspension by his employer, The Mailman got a day off. The reason for it - the infamous 40 stitches incident.

I think it was the dirtiest play I have experienced in the game of basketball in my life. I don’t think I’ve seen anything as vicious and as intentional to a player. I still don’t understand it.

Isiah Thomas, Yahoo Sports

Perhaps that was Malone's revenge act for Isiah's 44-point performance on the Jazz at the start of the season when Zeke led the Pistons to an 8-point victory, destroying John Stockton in the process. It was a statement game by Thomas, as that was their first matchup after the '92 Dream Team was announced. Stock made the team, Isiah didn't, and the Pistons' guard wasted no time sending the message.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

So the next time two teams faced each other, The Mailman decided to send a message of his own. And his one was brutal.

Malone's flagrant foul caused a 40-stitch slash above Thomas’ eye, as he received a one-game suspension and a $10,000 fine by the NBA. And although Karl disputed the whole thing being intentional, there’s no denying that Malone went into the tinier Thomas with an intent to maim.

My head; it was just ugly. When I got home my wife started crying. There was so much swelling on my head. It was horrific. That was the cheapest sh*t in my mind in the history of the game.

Isiah Thomas, Yahoo Sports

The incident caused Isiah to miss three games, as he made a comeback against the Magic on December 26. Thomas picked up where he left off, putting up 22 points in a 112-110 victory over Orlando. So long term wise, The Mailman's "message" didn't do any significant harm. But it doesn't take away from the brutality of his act. And however he wants to rationalize it; that wasn't a basketball play. That was cheap, reckless, wrong, or simply put, one of the dirtiest plays in NBA history.


Bill Russell once explained how he would defend Shaq: "He has to carry that weight up and down!"

A duel between the most dominant big man ever and the best defensive player in history would be a true showdown.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Most epic on-court trash talk moments caught on camera

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James all dropped epic lines to hush their foes.

Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks

One-hit wonder — whatever happened to Houston Rockets’ Aaron Brooks?

Aaron Brooks played like an All-Star player in 2009-2010 season. However, his performances dipped due to injuries and alleged attitude problems.

Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller, Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, Scottie Pippen forward Chicago Bulls

Reggie Miller on why Scottie Pippen was the X-Factor in the Bulls' NBA Finals wins against the Jazz

Scottie Pippen has literally contained the best point guards in NBA history.

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center David Robinson and center Kevin Willis

”We might not want to grab him” - Kevin Willis says Tim Duncan and David Robinson hesitated to throw him into a pool when he first arrived in San Antonio

Former San Antonio Spurs center Kevin Willis recalled his hilarious and epic first meeting with Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“There are many days I don't want to be around people and I'm a nasty person” — Michael Jordan opens up about why he doesn’t like showing himself to the public

Throughout his playing days, Michael Jordan hinted why he prefers to stay away from the public spotlight, and true enough, he carries that persona in retirement.


Ben Simmons gets heated after a fan roasts him to his face: "Hey Russell Westbrook! Can't shoot bro?"

The comedian known for clowning NBA players went up to Simmons at the mall, but the Nets star was not having it.