Isiah Thomas is pilloried in a new documentary that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Dream Team from which he was left out.
In a preview of the 90-minute production shown to media at the NBA Finals, Michael Jordan reveals one of his "stipulations" for joining the Dream Team was having his Pistons rival not included, but claimed the sentiment also came from the top.
It long has been speculated Jordan kept Thomas off the team, but the documentary reveals the snub ran deeper.
Jordan’s Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen also said he didn’t want Thomas.
"I despised how he played the game,” Pippen said.
Pippen said he believes Thomas incited the Pistons Bad Boys’ rough play.
"Isiah was the general,” Pippen said. "He was the guy who would yap at his teammates and say, ‘Kick them on their [rear]. Do whatever you have to do.’ No, I didn’t want him on the Dream Team.”
When asked if Jordan wanted Thomas on the eventual gold medal-winning team, Pippen said, "I can’t speak for Michael, but I don’t think he wanted him on the team.”
Jordan said in the documentary he was reluctant to join the Dream Team, but came around after Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing joined.
"That was one of the stipulations put to me that Isiah wasn’t part of the team,” Jordan said.
Former NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik said Thomas was excluded partly because of an incident in the 1991 Bulls-Pistons playoff series in which he and his teammates bolted the court before the final buzzer without congratulating Chicago.
"We were picking a group just after the Pistons had been eliminated by the Bulls,” Granik said. "It was very bad timing for Isiah. Everyone had that impression in their mind, the picture of Isiah walking off the court.”
NBA TV officials said Thomas, a former Knicks president and coach, declined to participate in the documentary.