By: Evan Jankens
The greatest basketball team ever assembled was announced on Sept. 21, 1991. It was the first time professional basketball players would be participating in Olympics for the United States.
Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin and Christian Laettner were all named to the team that was coached by the Pistons head man, Chuck Daly.
They were dubbed “The Dream Team” and that’s exactly what they were. But one player was missing from that team and that was the Pistons’ Isiah Thomas.
Rumor was that Michael Jordan wouldn’t be part of the team if Thomas was also going to be on the team. The heated rivalry with the Pistons and the Bulls became an issue with a gold medal for the United States. When you want to win a gold medal with the best players, the team needed Jordan over Thomas.
I think without a doubt that was the right choice.
On the 25th anniversary of the initial 10-man roster being announced, the former Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas sat down with CBS Sports Radio’s Brown and Scoop podcast to talk about the snub.
“I’d be remissed to say as I said then, I’m very disappointed that I wasn’t on the team and from a body of work standpoint, all you can do as a player is do your best out on the floor and win,” said Thomas. “And then when it becomes time for people to judge and you have selection committees and everything else, the politics of it you have no control over, but the things I did have control over in terms of winning and winning championships, those are the things I had control over and was proud of.
“That’s the only thing when you look at all the standard barriers, that’s the only place I don’t have anything to show in that category,” Thomas said. “Whether it be politics or politics…that’s an area that is missing.”
Looking back, maybe Thomas should have been on the team over John Stockton. But would “The Dream Team” really been so memorable if Jordan weren’t part of the team and Thomas was?