Michael Jordan on tape: I didn’t want Isiah Thomas on Dream Team

A portion of ESPN’s 10-part documentary series “The Last Dance” explored the prolonged tension between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas, digging in to the infamous walk-off game and Thomas curiously being left off the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.

Over the years, Jordan denied having any involvement in Thomas not making the Dream Team, the first American Olympic team to feature active NBA players.

But sportswriter Jack McCallum revealed a past interview with Jordan on his podcast “The Dream Team Tapes” that tells a much different story.

“[Selection committee member] Rod Thorn called me. I said, “Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team,”” Jordan can be heard saying in a past interview. “He assured me. He said, ‘You know what? Chuck (Daly) doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team.”

In the documentary, which concluded on May 17, Jordan expressed how disrespected he felt when the Detroit Pistons left the floor in the 1991 playoffs without shaking the Bulls’ hands. When producers asked Thomas about it in the doc, he said he thought “all of us would make a different decision” if given a do over.

Thorn recently denied that Jordan had anything to do with the decision to leave Thomas off the team.

But the disrespect evidently stayed with Jordan. Thomas was a worthy choice for the Dream Team, which ended up featuring legendary players like Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and Jordan.

McCallum pointed out that some could argue that Jazz star John Stockton was just as good as Thomas, but that it wasn’t the most legitimate argument. All signs pointed to Jordan’s personal feelings as the reason why Thomas was omitted from the team.

“Please, in the year of our Lord 1991, there was no one who was going to pick Isiah Thomas over Michael Jordan. It’s that simple,” McCallum said.

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