Thomas built a reputation as a fierce competitor, a natural leader who played through injuries. It’s all a battle of will. If I was a failed executive and coach who was charged with sexual harassment and somehow is still being paid to give his opinions on tv, I’d be pretty happy too,, So it's coz he doesn't have to see Jordan every day any more . Philanthropy has been a part of Thomas’ mission since leaving Chicago. He also was responsible for the Raptors’ drafting of Marcus Camby and Tracy McGrady in future Toronto drafts. The Pistons played and intimidated their way to a second consecutive NBA Championship in 1989-90, becoming the second team since the 1968-69 Boston Celtics to win back-to-back crowns, and the sixth team ever to do so. “After a bad stretch, Isiah called a team meeting, something unheard for a rookie to do and said, ‘I didn’t come here to lose, I came out here to win, and if you don’t want to win, then don’t play,’ ” Kelser said. Thomas single-handedly gave the Pistons a 81-79 lead. (1978-79). In 13 years with Detroit, he became the franchise’s all-time leader in points, assists, steals and games played. Bird immediately passed it to Dennis Johnson for an easy lay-up and a shocking 108-107 Boston victory. “He’s 20 and he’s calling out everybody. The next night on Halloween, the Pistons played in Thomas' hometown of Chicago, where he was raised by his mother as the youngest of nine children on the poor and infamous west side. The team climbed to third in the Central Division. Thomas’ sunny smile belied an inner toughness that made him a key member of a scrappy, physical group of players dubbed the “Bad Boys” of Detroit. Thomas scored 12 points with four assists in 17 minutes of play as his Eastern Conference team beat the Western Conference, 120-118. Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton made an appearance, as did Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and several others. After the Celtics went on to win Game 7, 117-114, dashing the Pistons' hope of finally making the finals, Thomas became more determined than ever to win a crown. Cookies help us deliver our Services. “I call him the baby-faced assassin,” an opposing coach once told the Charlotte Observer, “because he smiles at you, then cuts you down.”. Even in Thomas' last season of 1993-1994, when the Detroit finished with a 20-62 record, the average attendance at the Palace was 19,151. 2 pick that year. In his last season, 42-year-old center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was ineffective and guards Magic Johnson and Byron Scott were slowed by hamstring injuries. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. “Internally," Wilson said, "we called the Palace 'The House that Isiah Built.'

If you had a reputation as the MJ stopper, you'd be happy too.

The 12-time All-Star was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team. By the 1993-94 season it was clear that Thomas, at 32, was nearing the end of his playing days. Isiah’s father left the family when he was 3 years old, leaving Isiah’s mother to raise the children. Holding a 3-2 series lead, the Pistons lost Game 6, 103-102, despite 43 points from Thomas (25 points in one quarter, setting an NBA Finals record), who played on a badly sprained ankle. But Thomas took over in the final 94 seconds of regulation, scoring 16 consecutive points to force overtime. ESPN 857,661 views. That summer Thomas was selected to play on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, but a U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games robbed him of the Olympic experience. “It’s hard giving up your first true love. Whenever I see this guy, whether in interviews, in the studio doing analysis, whatever, why is he always smiling??? And then there was Isiah Lord Thomas III, the player whose impact turned around the once floundering franchise and laid the foundation for the construction of one of the premier arenas in basketball, especially for its time. But with 4:21 left in the quarter, Thomas was writhing in pain and holding his right ankle after landing on Michael Cooper’s foot. In 1996-97, Thomas was honored as a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and in 2000, he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Thomas, along with fellow rookie and NBA All Star forward Kelly Tripucka, Kent Benson, John Long, Terry Tyler, Vinnie Johnson, and Bill Laimbeer, a mid-season acquisition posted an 18-game turnaround and climbed to third in the Central Division. It's the first time in 57 years the franchises will share a venue in Detroit. They were quiet in the first three years of Daly’s reign, getting no further than the East semis. George Blaha, who just completed his 41st season as a Piston broadcaster, fondly recalls Thomas’ first game, which was against the Milwaukee Bucks in front of 9,182 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1981. Basketball isn’t everything to me.”. “I was so pissed off that I was injured that I wanted to beat the Lakers even more,” Thomas told the Free Press a few years ago. Thomas, who served as president of the NBA Players Association in 1988-94, became part owner and executive vice president of the expansion Toronto Raptors after his career. When asked how he had staged his one-man comeback, Thomas had difficulty explaining it. In 1987-88, the Pistons reached the NBA Finals for the first time since moving to Detroit from Fort Wayne in 1958. Still needing to carry much of the Pistons’ offensive load, Thomas scored more than 20 points per game in each season from 1982-83 to 1986-87. Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy.

As the team’s executive vice president, Thomas was charged with molding the character of the expansion club, and one of his first moves was to draft a talented, under-sized point guard — Damon Stoudamire, who became Rookie of the Year in 1995-96. They had a combined record of 37-127 in the previous two seasons, allowing them to snag the No. You misunderstand, his face is in a permanent smile, he has no other expression, only smile.

The experience was a painful one for Thomas. Get off my porch or I’ll blow you off it!” Another night, when Isiah got home late, she grounded him for the entire summer.

He combined intelligence, court savvy and physical gifts to attain true NBA superstardom. He made the All-Star Team in all but his final year and was named NBA Finals MVP in 1990. Thomas' play helped the Pistons finish 39-43, 18 games better than the previous season. It was a performance reminiscent of the '84 playoff game against the Knicks. Detroit Pistons greats happy to see team taking history south to city. In those games, Thomas recorded 15 and 10 assists, respectively. “I wanted her to do that because she was from generation that had been denied and education. He was also known for his full-speed, acrobatic drives into the teeth of the toughest and tallest frontcourtmen. Sometimes when I’m walking down the halls of my home and I see a door ledge, like a kid, I pretend I’m shooting a lay-up, or I make an imaginary jump shot, or dribble move.".

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