As basketball fans rehash the feud between Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan that dates back all the way to the 1988 playoffs, longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn, who worked on the league side during the construction of the Dream Team roster for the 1992 Olympics, said Wednesday that Thomas’ name “never came up” during his conversations with Jordan about the Dream Team.
It had long been assumed that Jordan made it a requirement that if he played, Thomas could not be on the team. Most who believe that theory won’t be persuaded by Thorn, but on Golic and Wingo on Wednesday, Thorn made it clear he did not ever hear from Jordan that Thomas should not play.
“There was never anything in my conversations with (Jordan) that had to do with Isiah Thomas,” Thorn said.
“There was never anything in my conversation with him that had to do with Isiah Thomas.”
– Rod Thorn (‘92 Dream Team selection committee member) on his conversation with Michael Jordan about joining the Olympic Team. pic.twitter.com/MFSFOkMo99
— Golic and Wingo (@GolicAndWingo) April 29, 2020
Episodes 5 and 6 of The Last Dance, which airs this weekend on ESPN, will revisit the Dream Team, while last week’s episodes looked back at Bulls’ rivalry with the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons and Thomas’ fractured relationship with Jordan. It is widely believed that the Pistons’ decision to walk off the court before the clock had expired in Game 4 of the teams’ 1991 series was the final straw in the relationship between the two NBA legends.
Though Thorn’s statement is well taken, any other person tasked with organizing Team USA, of course, could have easily spoken in private with Jordan to make sure his conditions were met if this was something he demanded. While the Dream Team won the gold without Thomas and Jordan is clearly a higher priority than Thomas, it’s still impossible to believe that Thomas, a 12-time All-Star and Finals MVP, was organically left off the list for the 1992 Olympics.