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Michael Jordan speaks out on Isiah Thomas, Pistons not shaking hands after 1991 sweep


The new episodes of ESPN’s docuseries The Last Dance featured one of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ biggest rivals in the early days in the Detroit Pistons.

In the series, Jordan gave his thoughts on Pistons star point guard Isiah Thomas. The latter refused to shake Jordan’s hand after the Bulls had swept Detroit in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. As a result, Jordan admitted that at that time, he did not think too fondly of Thomas.

That’s as blunt a statement as you’re going to get, with Michael Jordan not holding back one bit. The incident transpired nearly three decades ago, but it is clear that it remains fresh in Jordan’s memory.

This was a tremendous accomplishment for the Bulls at that time, as the Detroit “Bad Boys” had been their biggest roadblock during the late-80s to the early 90s. So much so, that it was actually the Pistons that eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs for three consecutive seasons prior to the 1991 Playoffs. By defeating them that season — and so convincingly at that — Jordan and Chicago were finally able to vanquish their demons.

Thomas was obviously not too happy about being swept, especially considering how they seemed to have the Bulls figured out. This resulted in him snubbing Jordan at the final buzzer, which is undeniably not too sportsmanlike of him. Such is the competitive spirit of Thomas that he just did not feel like being friendly after being humiliated on the court. Understandable, I guess, to a certain degree.