Sunday night’s episodes of The Last Dance thrust the “Bad Boys” Pistons right back into the spotlight the documentary focused on what Michael Jordan and the Bulls had to go through in order to get past them in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons took down Jordan and the Bulls in their first couple of postseason meetings, before Chicago finally broke through in 1991, sweeping Detroit. But it quickly turned from a great series win to anger when the Pistons team elected to walk off the bench without shaking hands with seconds left to play in the game.
That doesn’t sit well with Jordan and his teammates to this day.
“You can show me anything you want. It’s no way you can convince me he wasn’t an assh–e,” Jordan said in Episode 4.
Thomas responded to Jordan’s comments on ESPN’s Get Up! on Monday morning.
“In terms of how we felt at that particular time as champions, we were coming down, Michael Jordan was coming up. And in coming up, you have certain emotions. And in coming down as champions, you have certain emotions. And I’ve said this a many of times: Looking back over the years, had we had the opportunity to do it all over again, I think all of us would make a different decision.
“Now, me, myself, personally, I paid a heavy price for that decision. And in paying that price, you know, I understand that this is the sports world and everything else, but at the same time looking back over in terms of how we felt at that particular time, our emotional state and how we exited the floor, we actually gave the world the opportunity to look at us in a way that we never really tried to position ourselves in or project ourselves in that way. So it’s unfortunate that it happened, but that’s just how it was during that period of time.”
The 58-year-old admits that he is still “personally hurt” he was not asked to be a part of that legendary ’92 Dream Team and truly believes it has everything to do with not shaking Jordan’s hand.
“Why I’m personally hurt is another reason why I’m here,” Thomas said … “Because being left off the Dream Team, that personally hurt me.”
“If I’m not apart of the Dream Team because a lapse in emotion in terms of not shaking someone’s hand … if that’s the reason why I didn’t make the Dream Team, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then when I wasn’t selected.”
This is one of those rivalries that all involved will take to their graves.