While The Last Dance was primarily the story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, the documentary could not have happened without the various antagonists that popped up over the course of Jordan’s career. High on the list were Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons squad famously known as the “Bad Boys,” who were a frequent thorn in Jordan’s side as he attempted to win his first championship.
Jordan, to put it lightly, is not a fan of Thomas, to the point that he called him an asshole in the documentary. Well, it’s been nearly three years since The Last Dance dropped, and on a recent episode of The Pivot Podcast, Thomas got asked about Jordan calling him out that explicitly.
“I was upset, I was highly upset,” Thomas said of Jordan calling him an asshole in the documentary at the 33:07 mark of the above video. The Hall of Fame guard then explained that his relationship with Jordan was pretty good while he was establishing himself in the city that Thomas called home.
“I was upset of watching a documentary of a guy being an asshole to everybody, but then called me a asshole, and I ain’t been nothing but nice to this dude,” Thomas said. “Now, this is real talk, go back and document it. You can go back on the west side of Chicago. I ain’t talking about Michigan Avenue, where they used to kick me off for shining shoes. I couldn’t shine shoes on Michigan Avenue, I couldn’t shine shoes on Rush Street, they kicked me outta there. On the west side of Chicago, that’s where I’m from, OK? Now, on the west side of Chicago, when Michael Jordan got to Chicago, I made it real easy for him to walk those streets on the west side of Chicago. My family took care of him. My sister and his brother hung out as friends. My little nephew lived with Michael Jordan. I’ma say this again: My little nephew lived with Michael Jordan. Now, I’m being extremely good to this dude. I’m calling his house during this period of time. So all this, ‘Isiah was an asshole,’ no no no no, dude, I was looking out for you.”
Thomas then brought up when the teams would play — Detroit famously had their “Jordan Rules,” which involved the team being ultra-physical with the Bulls star. But he was quick to point out that he never hit anyone, with Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn putting hands on players, whether they were opponents or Thomas himself.
Thomas has said that he did not realize just how strongly Jordan felt about him until after The Last Dance aired, and it’s pretty obvious the whole thing still rubs him the wrong way.