Isiah Thomas: ESPN forgets 90’s Pistons behind Michael Jordan, Bulls

(Photo by Jon Soohoo/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Soohoo/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In the midst of a recent conversation with ESPN, former Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas gave his opinion on Michael Jordan in the 90’s.

The “Bad Boys”, as their known to basketball fans today, gave fans one of the most intriguing, entertaining, and controversial teams to watch in the past three decades in the NBA. Legendary point guard Isiah Thomas led that Detroit Pistons team that is formerly known as the “Bad Boys” that gave the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan all sorts of fits.

It was the Pistons that wouldn’t let the Bulls get off the ground at times in the Eastern Conference in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Thomas had a large role in that, but he also feels like the “history books” didn’t write it up that way.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Thomas expressed his displeasure that the national media wrote up the NBA history books as the great Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalries were bridged over to the Michael Jordan Bulls.

In regards to that subject for Thomas, ESPN wrote up that he feels in particular that: “the back-to-back champions Thomas feels the NBA has relegated to a forgotten bridge from the Lakers-Celtics rivalry in the ’80s to the Michael Jordan Bulls of the ’90s.”

Thomas also stated that: “I mean, that’s how they wrote it [in the history books].”

This is all a very interesting perspective on the history of the NBA and how some of the league’s former players feel the executives spun things in the past. Thomas obviously feels slighted about his position, and where the Pistons fall in the discussion too, with how the league office buried his team’s back-to-back NBA titles.

Detroit did eliminated Michael Jordan and the Bulls in three consecutive postseason. That Pistons team was a very tough out in the East for a while in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And, Thomas felt like his team wasn’t the only one that gave MJ and the Bulls fits during the early part of that building dynasty.

“Keeping it real right, we weren’t the only team that shut down Michael Jordan,” Thomas told ESPN in that same piece.

But, that is when the Bulls really started to make some runs behind the six total titles that Michael Jordan brought back to the Windy City. Both sides have their fair places in the history books for the NBA, and ESPN is actually doing a pretty good job covering this “Bad Boys”-era for the Pistons franchise.

Nonetheless, this is a rivalry that shouldn’t be forgotten in the history of the NBA. The Pistons were one of the more physical, aggressive, and provoking teams in recent NBA history. That’s what will make them so memorable for now and well into the future.

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The ESPN “30-for-30” documentary that featured the Pistons from that era, better known as the “Bad Boys”, is one of the best in that entire series. It dives deep into the culture behind those Bulls and Pistons teams, and the rivalry between MJ and the likes of Thomas and big man Rick Mahorn that gave him so much trouble more than two decades ago.