Jason Whitlock: “Was there anything that transpired off the court between you and Michael that may fuel this level of animus 30 years down the road?”
Isiah Thomas: “Not that I’m aware of. I think the only thing people go back to is the lapse in judgement that I had in terms of not shaking his hand after a game. Just to contextualize that and give you the full narrative around that: after Game 3, Michael Jordan called us ‘undeserving champions’ and said that we were ‘bad for basketball.’ We had a long and hard journey to become champions – we had to fight through Boston and we had to fight through LA, and we had a lot of ups and downs just like every champion does. We felt like we deserved our championship and worked hard to get it. To have them say that we were ‘undeserving’ – it really did cut, and it cut deep. So when we got beat and we got swept, the decision was made and Laimbeer was like ‘let’s just walk off’ and that’s what we did. Was it the right thing to do? Probably not looking back 30 years later, but what went into that with our emotions, and the way the city was feeling at that time, for someone to call us undeserving in terms of what we had been through, in that particular moment we felt like they didn’t deserve a handshake either.” (Full Video Interview Above)
Listen to Detroit Pistons Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas explain why his Detroit Pistons infamously walked off the court in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals without shaking hands with Michael Jordan’s Bulls team after Detroit was swept.
The unforgettable moment was well documented in ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ documentary, with Jordan recognizing that he had shook the Pistons' hands the previous times they had eliminated the Bulls in the postseason, and even went on to call Isiah an ‘a**hole’ when talking about the notorious walk off.