Isiah Thomas: ‘Right now, I’m picking LeBron James over Michael Jordan’

LerBron James would be the choice of Isiah Thomas if it came down to him and Michael Jordan.

One of the many great debates across the NBA landscape is who is the greatest player of all-time?

One of the best guards to ever lace ’em up, Isiah Thomas, said his pecking order starts with the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Then, however, Thomas said it comes down to two guys — Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

It should be noted, Thomas and Jordan had a fierce rivalry on the court during their playing days.

Thomas reportedly led a freeze-out of Jordan, then a rookie, at the NBA All-Star Game.

Jordan returned the favor, pushing for Thomas to not be part of the original Dream Team, which won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1992.

Magic Johnson verified that Thomas was not wanted on the Dream Team in the book he and Larry Bird co-wrote with the great Jackie MacMullan, “When the Game was Ours.”

“Nobody on that team wanted to play with him,” Johnson wrote. “Michael didn’t want to play with him. Scottie [Pippen] wanted no part of him. Bird wasn’t pushing for him. Karl Malone didn’t want him. Who was saying, ‘We need this guy?’ Nobody.’”

As the point guard for the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons, Thomas and his teammates stood in the way of Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, winning back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990 and eliminating the Jordan-led Bulls in the playoffs in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Finally, Jordan & Co. dethroned Detroit in the 1991 Eastern Conference Dinals, clinching on the Pistons’ home floor. Detroit’s starters, including Thomas, walked off the court with time remaining on the game clock without shaking hands with the Bulls players.

So it should come as no surprise Thomas would take LeBron over Michael, given the choice.

6 Comments on "Isiah Thomas: ‘Right now, I’m picking LeBron James over Michael Jordan’"

  1. The original Isaiah Thomas was a thug and poor sportsman. That’s why his lauded Bad Boys are not remembered fondly: they were assholes. Bill Lame-beer was a thug and so was the other guy… Joe Dumars. 2 assholes and Isaiah completes the trifecta of assholery. They love to reminisce about their dominance. Meanwhile, kids today are still wearing Michael Jordan’s gear/corporate Nike shit.

  2. Yeah, Thomas is full of beans. I think LeBron’s great, but the biggest difference between LBJ and MJ was Jordan was out for blood EVERY game. His teams never mailed it in during the regular season and you never heard him say, “It’s only January.” Plus, MJ won six titles in a league with less teams and more talent. LeBron is very clearly one of the all-time greats, and deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with Jordan and the others … but he’s not Jordan.

  3. The talent now in the league is pretty amazing. I would say Lebron has faced more talented teams in his Finals appearances than Jordan did.

  4. I wonder why we speak as if most of us saw Jordan play. We barely did when take into account the poster’s age and thr fact not many games were shown on National TV back then. Nba broadcasting history backs up my claim.

    A lot of the sports personalities didn’t have access to Jordan games than the average fan back then. Yet, somehow everybody speaks like they saw him play 80 games a season. If Lonzo is healthy amd we see all lakera games until then, in 2021, we’ll have seen more Lonza games thanJordan games.

    Only people that can claim to have seen all games are people in chicago and a few other pkaces where ALL games were broadcast.

  5. Why is Thomas full of beans? Because he’s one of the few from that era not blindly picking MJ over LeBron? Yes, Thomas and MJ doesn’t have the best history, but why isn’t he picking Kobe or Shaq over MJ? Could it be that he has an actual legitimate NBA opinion.

    Yes, Jordan never stated “its only January” or mailed it in because he NEVER had to shoulder the workload that LeBron does night in and night out. All MJ had to worry about during their championship run was scoring. Yes, he had some defensive assignments but the pool of 2 guards was incredibly weak in the 90’s with only Clyde, MJ, and Reggie Miller as standouts (Compare that to what LeBron has to face in KD, Melo, Kawhi, Giannis, PG13, Jimmy Butler, etc). But typically Scottie handled the tougher defensive assignments. Grant and Rodman handled the rebounding. Scottie handled the playmaking racking up more assists than MJ and playing in an actual system (THE most successful system in NBA history)helped take out the guesswork of the playmaking. Whereas in LeBron’s case he has to defend, score, rebound, pass and make plays, and he IS the system. Because if he doesn’t do it all, his teams would likely never make it out of the East. Meanwhile, the Bulls were comfortably winning 55 games without MJ and an 8 ppg scorer named Pete Myers as his replacement. Yet the league was somehow tougher then? Replace LeBron with an 8ppg scorer and the Cavs are out of the Playoffs.

    • You’re vastly underrating Jordan. I’ve seen both in their primes. I grew up a Cavs fan. I pick Jordan. Doesn’t mean I don’t respect LeBron. Means I think Jordan is better and there is NO changing my mind at this point. Not close. And yes, there were seven less teams when Jordan played. That means 105 less players. The league was UNDOUBTEDLY tougher. I don’t care that it was — I just saw it. I have no reason to pick Jordan or say the league was tougher. I’ve just been covering it for 25 years. I know what I saw/see. Thanks for reading.

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