Posted October 04, 2013

Isiah Thomas regrets handshake snub against Bulls in 1991 playoffs

Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan

Isiah Thomas says he regrets walking off the court without shaking hands with the Bulls after the Pistons were swept in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals.

“We all should have taken the high road,” Thomas said during a taping for NBA TV’s Open Court.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls routed the Pistons 115-94 in Game 4 in Detroit to complete the sweep and eliminate the two-time defending champions, who had ousted Chicago from the playoffs the previous three seasons. In the closing seconds, Thomas and some teammates headed to the locker room without acknowledging the Bulls.

New Knicks president: Thomas won’t rejoin organization

Thomas said the Pistons decided to snub the Bulls near the end of Game 4 because Chicago had criticized the Bad Boys during the series.

“We thought we deserved a little bit of respect as a champion,” Thomas said. “Everyone could play and act like the Pistons and adopt our philosophy, except the Pistons. Before the Bulls swept us, I remember clearly Jordan and Phil Jackson and everyone, they went on a day, day-and-a-half tirade about how we were bad for the game, about how we were bad people, about how [Bill] Laimbeer was a thug. They were up 3-0, and then they had this press conference just totally disrespecting us as champions.”

10 comments
bambam824
bambam824

I would regret the magic johnson kiss more than the bulls snub.

DAJS6
DAJS6

Isiah was not part of the Dream Team but the story of Isiah being left off the Dream Team will always be a part of the Dream Team story.

sugaslim
sugaslim

and the snub led to him being left off the dfream team. thats what he regrets

DAJS6
DAJS6

Isiah had a long heated rivalry with Jordan, Magic and Bird in the playoffs where the games matter most. He met Bird and the Celtics in the playoffs like 5 times, he met Jordan and the Bulls in the playoffs like 5 times, and he met Magic and the Lakers twice in the Finals. Jordan, Magic and Bird were supposedly the best players of their era. Isiah Thomas was the one guy who has beaten all three of them and he did not kiss their behinds just because they were the supposed kings of  the NBA. That is why Jordan, Magic and Bird don't like Isiah. And they all found that in common when they got together in the Dream Team. They did not like Isiah and that is why Isiah was not included in the Dream Team. You can add Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen to that list of Isiah haters. But the other players like Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Chris Mullin did not mind Isiah.

Shaking hands after a game is a good sign of sportsmanship. But if you don't shake hands I don't see what the big deal is. After all you are supposed to be competing and beating the other guy. Shaking hands can be an admission of defeat. That is why ultra competitive guys like Isiah and Kevin Garnett have done it, not shake hands with their opponents. I wonder if Jordan and Pippen would have shook hands with Xavier Mcdaniel, Anthony Mason, Greg Anthony and Johns Starks if say hypothetically the Knicks beat the Bulls in the 1991 and 1992 playoffs ? 

14theroad
14theroad

It's strange to me; Jordan, Magic, and Bird all get along great, but none of them like Isiah.  All three are ultra-competitive, and they dearly loved beating one another, but they still like and respect one another.  What is it about Isiah that makes him so unlikable?  I'm not passing judgement; just honestly curious.

BHKersey
BHKersey

Larry Bird and the Celtics snubbed Isiah and the Pistons after Detroit eliminated the Celtics in 1988. Only Kevin McHale shook Isiah's hand...but nobody talks about that...

I remember Jordan disrespecting the Pistons in an interview before Game 1 of the 1991 EC Finals. Why should Isiah kiss Michael's behind??? But Jordan was Lord in the NBA's eyes, right???

DAJS6
DAJS6

The Pistons walking off took a bit of air out of what would have been a glorious moment for Jordan and the Bulls. Like they won but they were not given the crown. But Jordan got Isiah back a year later by not letting Isiah play with the Dream Team.

But what is the big deal about walking off the court without shaking hands? Kevin Garnett has done it a few times, notably vs the Heat. Not much has been written about that. 

dinohealth
dinohealth

Too late now, Zeke.  Gesture/snub kinda went hand-in-hand with what MJ and Phil were talking about.  "Bad Boys" are now stuck with that image...forever!  :-) 

Azeron
Azeron

@DAJS6 Magic doesn't like Zeke NOW because when Magic contracted HIV, Zeke wondered alout to other players if Magic truly contracted it during heterosexual sex.  It is so ironic that Magic's son is gay.  Poetic justice even.  If Magic weren't a homophobe he wouldn't have cared so much that he would join with Jordan and Bird in blackballing Thomas from the Dream Team.

Azeron
Azeron

@dinohealth What?  Winners?  What a shame that is?  Jordan never would have beaten the Pistons or Pat Riley's Knicks for that matter if the NBA hadn't changed the rules and eliminated hand checking and hard nosed defense.  It's not that Jordan couldn't survive the old NBA, but the Bad Boys made Pippen cry so much that I thought he was a weak player.