For a couple of years in the late 1980s and the start of the 1990s, the Detroit Pistons-Chicago Bulls rivalry was the best in the NBA.
The two teams met four straight times in the playoffs from 1988 to 1991, with the Pistons winning each of the first three battles.
Those battles solidified plenty of bad blood between Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan that would last for many years afterward.
While speaking at the ForbesBLK Summit, Thomas claimed that he didn’t know about that beef until he watched “The Last Dance,” a documentary about the Jordan-era Bulls that was released in 2020, per Darnell Mayberry.
Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, speaking at the ForbesBLK Summit in Atlanta, opened up about his strained relationship with Michael Jordan:
“This beef that we supposedly had,”Thomas said, “well, I didn’t know anything about it until The Last Dance.” pic.twitter.com/v8kAycjz4y
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) November 6, 2023
Many would likely respond that Thomas is lying and that he was perhaps the main culprit in that feud, to begin with.
While he was a great player and competitor and likely one of the greatest passers in basketball history, he had a reputation as a dirty player and a cheap-shot artist who would use plenty of tricks to enrage opposing players.
Thomas’ Pistons won back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990, but in 1991 their title reign was running on fumes.
They ended up getting swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by a maturing Bulls team, and before time even expired in Game 4, Thomas seemed to lead his teammates off the court without even acknowledging the victorious Bulls.
Chicago Bulls vs Detroit Pistons | Game 4 | 1991 | Eastern Conference Finals |The walk off with 7.9 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.
— The Jordan Rules (@Rules23Jordan) September 17, 2022
The Bulls would go on to win their first world title by downing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, and it would be the first of two separate sets of three straight titles for them in the 1990s.NEXT: Adam Silver Hints At Major NBA All-Star Game Change In 2025