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“He is the best I’ve ever seen” – Revisiting the time Isiah Thomas called Michael Jordan the greatest player ever

Even though they can't see eye to eye today, there was a time Thomas considered Jordan the GOAT of the NBA
Isiah Thomas & Michael Jordan

Isiah Thomas & Michael Jordan

Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas and Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan have a long and well-publicized dislike for one another, but what if I told you this wasn't always the case.

The two rivals' animosity reached a boiling point in April 2020 when Jordan doubled down on his dislike for Thomas during the now-famous Bulls documentary "The Last Dance", calling him a multitude of insults throughout the series.

The reaction to the documentary was palpable, and earlier this month, Thomas addressed the comments directly, demanding a public apology from MJ.

"Until I get a public apology, this beef is gonna go on for a long long time, cause I'm from the west side of Chicago."

Thomas once called Jordan the greatest ever

Given all that has transpired, it may be hard to believe that things were ever different between the pair, but a quick trip down memory lane paints a very different picture of this relationship.

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In fact, Thomas labeled Jordan the "best I've ever seen" towards the end of his playing career.

"It's unbelievable in terms of his quickness, his strength, his jumping ability, his touch, and also his knowledge and understanding for the game. He by far, is the best I've ever seen, and Earvin (Magic Johnson) is my boy, but you know Air, he real sweet."

Thomas states he and Magic never reached MJ's level

It's hard to imagine those words being uttered by Thomas, but it wasn't the only time that the 12-time All-Star sang his praises.

Fast forward to 1993, and Thomas was at it again during a halftime interview of a Bulls broadcast.

"The thing that amazes me about Michael Jordan and I think the rest of the players in the league is his stamina and his endurance. The thing that I wasn't able to do, the thing that Magic wasn't able to do, we succumb to injury, we didn't have the type of stamina and the type of energy levels Michael seems to possess every single night whether he's playing against the worst team in the league or the best team in the league. He has an energy level that is unmatched by any other player or any other athlete that I've seen in professional sports. Whether it be basketball, football, baseball, track, tennis, his energy levels is so much greater than ours it seems that night in, night out he's there performing at a level that we frankly just weren't able to reach and that's why he's there tonight healthy and trying to three peat and Magic and succumb to injuries."

It's safe to say the tone has changed over the following three decades, but it's always interesting to dive into the archives and revisit the past. 

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