The Dream Team Documentary and the Nightmare of Isiah Thomas
What may surprise you is the villain in the documentary, Isiah Thomas.
Isiah Thomas and the Bad Boy Pistons were notorious for their dirty play on the court. It’s what gave them the toughness and mental edge to instill fear into their opponents. And Isiah was the general.
Scottie Pippen says, ““He was the guy who would yap at his teammates and say 'Kick them on their ass. Do whatever you have to do.'" Pippen went on to say, "No, I didn’t want him on the Dream Team. I can’t speak for Michael but I don’t think he wanted him on the team (either).’’
Scottie didn’t have to speak on behalf of his teammate Michael because Michael said it himself. Jordan’s stipulation for joining the Dream Team was to exclude Isiah Thomas. Although, he claims that this wasn't his opinion alone.
“That was one of the stipulations put to me that Isiah wasn’t part of the team,’’ Jordan said. “I was getting strong innuendos it wasn’t just…it was coming from a higher place who didn’t want Isiah on the team.’’
After the Pistons walked off the court before time had run out against Michael’s Bulls, it left a bad taste in the league's mouth. It was the kind of conduct that may have cost Isiah a shot on the roster. The Dream Team didn’t come into existence to represent one city or blue-collar tough guys, but it was formed to represent an entire nation. And although you can argue that Thomas was talented enough to earn a spot on the team, it was the necessary move to preserve the chemistry of the team on and off the court.
During the filming of the documentary, Isiah Thomas was asked to be interviewed since he was such a major impetus for bringing everyone else together. However, he declined to comment or respond to the accusations that were made about him.
Head Coach of the Dream Team, Chuck Daly, a former coach and long time friend of Isiah, said, “(Isiah) was not comfortable with it. I’m sure he was very hurt.’’
In hindsight, however, it was the right move considering the enormous impact that the Dream Team had on the game of basketball. The Dream Team made an American game an International game. If it wasn’t for them, who knows if we would have had Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, or Manu Ginobili? They’re the singular reason why players such as Tony Parker stayed up until 4am to watch the Chicago Bulls as a youngster in Paris.
And they are the reason why there will never be another Dream Team.