In this old school footage we why Isiah Thomas was and still is to this day one of the most hated players in the history of the league. He was ready to do anything in order to win. If this meant he needed to throw around a few punches, Thomas was more than happy to do so.
He wasn't the dirtiest of the Bad Boy Pistons, but he had his fair share of dirty tricks to keep the entire league in check in the '80s.
In this particular play, the Sixers were inbounding the ball while the Pistons were trying to pressure them, Rick Mahorn received the inbound pass with Isiah next to him. Mahorn made sure Isiah came nowhere near the ball and Isiah didn't take that too kindly. He retaliated with a punch almost immediately. Didn't even think about it.
If someone did the exact same thing in today's league, he would get suspended for half the season. Isiah got ejected and received a small fine.
Isiah Thomas Not Appearing On The Dream Team
“Isaiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him, Michael Jordan didn’t want to play with him, Scottie Pippen wanted no part of him, Bird wasn’t pushing for him, Karl Malone didn’t want him. Who was saying we need this guy? Nobody.” – Magic Johnson
During an interview with Mad Dog Radio, Dream Teamers, Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler speak openly about why Isiah Thomas was blackballed from the squad, even though Chuck Daly was the coach.
Here’s what Pippen had to say about Isiah not getting selected — “You know we had plenty of point guards. We had John Stockton, we had Magic, so you know there was really no room for him to be honest with you. We had some of the greatest point guards in the game. I think the position that he played in was taken, there was just no playing space there for him. A lot of good players great players Hall of Famers were left off for that team I’m very fortunate that I was able to join that team and be a part of it and I’m happy for that and blessed.”
Clyde Drexler didn’t share Pippen’s opinion that Isiah wasn’t talented enough to be part of the team. He thought it was more of a chemistry thing. Good chemistry is an essential component to every great team and in Clyde’s opinion, that was the reason why Thomas was left out. Here’s what he had to say:
I disagree with all that I think the guy gets there on his own merit even though in an Olympic scheme it’s all about camaraderie you have to get along with your teammate and because he was alienated from those guys (Magic, Pippen, Bird, Jordan) I don’t think anybody else had a problem with him. David Robinson, myself, Patrick, we had no problem with Isiah.
Isiah is one of the best point guards to ever play the game and so he deserved to be on that team especially with his head coach as our head coach Chuck Daly. The reason he was not was because we’d be together for long stretches of time and you had to get along with your teammates, but in terms of his talent I think he should have been on that team. It was a camaraderie issue because the truth is you didn’t need him to win so at that point it became a chemistry issue.
Scottie Pippen added, “Detroit Pistons beat the Bulls numerous times and finally when we were able to overcome them he just wasn’t very professional in turning the torch over and I didn’t have any love for him, I’m sure Michael didn’t have any love for him so if they would ask me about him being on the team I probably would have said no.”
So there you have it folks seems like the majority of the Dream Team disliked Thomas for his style of play and being a sore loser and nobody wanted that kind of bad energy around him, especially during the Olympics.