Isiah Thomas: If walk-off cost me a ‘Dream Team’ spot, I’m more disappointed now than at the time
And this is 29 years later!
Emotions were running much hotter at the time.
The Dream Team was selected shortly after, and Thomas was excluded. It was easy to see Jordan as the reason. At the time, speculation focused on Thomas’ alleged freeze-out of the Bulls star during the 1985 All-Star game.
But seeing how much attention Jordan paid to the handshake snub during “The Last Dance” documentary, there’s even more reason to view that as a factor.
Thomas, via ESPN:
Thomas was a marginal choice for the Dream Team. He would have been a totally reasonable selection. It was also reasonable to leave him off purely on basketball merit. He wasn’t as great as the players who made it for career accomplishments, and he was past his prime in 1992.
But it’s hard to believe politics – especially appeasing Jordan – didn’t factor. I don’t blame Thomas for believing he didn’t get fair consideration for the 1992 Olympic team.
It’s easy to hide behind valuing sportsmanship while playing up the handshake situation. But Larry Bird made the Dream Team.
The big difference: Bird didn’t cross Jordan, the NBA’s golden boy. Thomas did.
So, a minor situation got turned into something much bigger that still resonates all these years later.
Big enough to cost Thomas a spot on the Dream Team? Maybe.
The uncertainty alone is troubling.