Chicago Bulls: 5 most hated rival players of all-time

Chicago Bulls (Electronic Image) AFP Photo/Jeff KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Electronic Image) AFP Photo/Jeff KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

1. Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

There’s a clear top spot among the rivals of Jordan, Pippen, and the Chicago Bulls from the entire history of the franchise.

The often forgotten rivalry of the NBA in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s took place between the “Bad Boys” and the Bulls. The former of the two teams was a thorn in the side of the Bulls as a solid divisional foe for the better part (mostly in bits and pieces) of the last three decades. The Detroit Pistons experienced the most success of their franchise history during the time period of the late 80’s and early 90’s, though.

The Bulls lost in the conference semifinals or the conference finals in seven-game series three years in a row to at the hands of the Pistons. That has to sting for the Bulls as they were just starting to rise to national prominence.

And the most significant of any rival on that Pistons team, as it pertains to Jordan and the Bulls, is Hall-of-Fame point guard Isiah Thomas. IT actually held one of the better records of any star in the East to ever face Jordan at least two or three dozen times during the regular season. He held a record of 19-24 against Jordan in the regular season, and 12-10 in the playoffs.

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The controversial part of the IT-Jordan rivalry came to a head with the 1992 United States Olympic Team (also branded as the “Dream Team”). Apparently the differences that MJ and Thomas had from their rivalry with the Bulls and Pistons kept the latter of the two off the Dream Team. That surely has to keep bad blood between the two stemming to this day.

Thomas was extraodinarily efficient in his regular season career against the Bulls too, averaging around 21 points per game, nine assists, and two steals.