Isiah Thomas Once Said of Michael Jordan, “Has An Energy Level That’s Unmatched” in Comparison to NFL and MLB Athletes


Before reigniting their heated beef since the release of ‘The Last Dance,’ Isiah Thomas greatly respected the Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. Despite being part of the Bulls’ greatest rivals, the Detroit Pistons, Thomas reiterated in multiple interviews that Jordan was the most outstanding athlete in American sports history. As per a clip by ‘The Jordan Rules‘, Isiah Thomas even went as far as to compare Jordan to MLB and NFL athletes, putting the 6x NBA champion above all of them, across sports played in North America.

Interestingly, Thomas was the Finals MVP against Jordan’s Bulls in the 1990 NBA Finals. It’s quite commendable for Isiah Thomas to have respect for a player from the rival team despite being one-up against him at that time of his career.

Isiah Thomas had great respect for MJ despite being the Finals MVP in 1990

Isiah Thomas once had great respect for Michael Jordan, even before he had won his first NBA championship in 1991. Despite being one-up over Jordan as the 1990 Finals MVP back then, Thomas considered Jordan one of the greatest athletes across all sports in North America.

Jordan considered it an obligation to put on a show for the millions watching his games from the arenas or on TV. He had once famously said, “If you’re going to sit down and take three hours out of your day to watch me on TV, I have an obligation to give you my best.”

Archival footage from one of Isiah Thomas’ 1990 interviews shows the 2x NBA champion hyping Michael Jordan greatly with his words. As per the clip, Thomas remarked to Jordan,

“He has the energy levels that’s unmatched by any other player or any other athlete that I’ve seen in professional sports. Whether it be basketball, football, baseball, track, his energy level is so much greater than I have ever seen. Night in and night out, he is performing at a level that frankly we just won’t be able to reach.”

In another interview, perhaps in the 1990s or later, Isiah Thomas proudly proclaimed the ‘Air Jordan’ as one of the best players he had ever seen. It was quite unfortunate to see this respect Thomas had for Jordan turn into a publicized beef, owing to the Bulls and the Pistons’ intense rivalry and physicality during the games.

One of the peak moments of their rivalry was witnessed during the 1991 post-season, as the Bulls faced the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Led by Isiah Thomas, the Pistons walked out in Game 4 without shaking hands with the Bulls players before the final buzzer sounded. At this point, their beef had grown past a point of no return, given the Bulls were well past their way to win their first championship that very year.

This publicized beef had also cost Isiah Thomas his place in the 1992 Dream Team, all because Jordan did not want him there. Thomas was one of the best guards of his era, and his absence was widely noticeable by the NBA community.

Isiah Thomas demanded a public apology from Michael Jordan for calling him an ‘a**hole’

The Last Dance documentary series, released during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, remarkably portrayed the legacy of Michael Jordan in his final years with the Bulls. Though the documentary was supposed to portray the Bulls royalty’s ‘Last Dance’ during their 1997-98 campaign, some comments from Michael Jordan describing Isiah Thomas had hurt the sentiments of the Pistons legend.

Responding to the documentary, Thomas said, “This guy comes on television and he says that he hates me and then he calls me an a**hole. And then I proceed to watch a whole documentary about him being an a**hole.”

Thomas considered Jordan as one of his peers and greatly looked after him when he first arrived in Chicago. However, the disrespect and lack of acknowledgment on Jordan’s part was what greatly upset Isiah Thomas. Adding more about his disappointment, Thomas said,

“When Michael Jordan got to Chicago, I made it real easy for him to walk those streets on the west side of Chicago. My family took care of him… So all this, “Isiah was an a**hole,” no, no, no, I was looking out for you.”
For these statements, Thomas further demanded an apology on national television. However, there was no retort from Jordan in this regard.

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