The 1992 Olympic Dream Team was a big focus of Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” on Sunday, and specifically why former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas was left off it.
That great debate, naturally, spilled over into Monday — and eventually elicited an apology to Thomas from ESPN’s Michael Wilbon.
‘Nine out of 12’
The running theory has long been that Michael Jordan, who has been very clear about his dislike toward Thomas, didn’t want him on the 1992 Olympics team at the Barcelona games.
Jordan, though, shut that down in the documentary.
“You want to attribute it to me, go ahead and be my guest,” Jordan said. “But it wasn’t me.”
Jordan did, though, say that Thomas’ presence would have change the dynamic of the team. Due to Thomas’ many feuds with players in the league, Wilbon said in the documentary, it was more of a group effort that kept him off the Olympic roster.
“At that point, Magic and Isiah had their thing,” Wilbon said in the documentary. “Bird and Isiah had their thing. And Scottie. That’s half the team. They did not want to play with him.”
Wilbon took it a step further on Monday while speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump.”
According to him, there were only three people on the 12-man roster that would have welcomed Thomas in with open arms.
The Hall of Famer @RealMikeWilbon joins #TheJump - did Michael Jordan have a gambling problem? Where does Wilbon land on "Republicans wear sneakers too?" Whose fault was it really that Isiah was left off the Dream Team? We discuss... pic.twitter.com/2laT2YEwAV
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 4, 2020
“I’m gonna say nine of those guys just were not in favor of hanging out with Isiah Thomas at that time, and that’s what that summer was [Rachel], it was a big hangout. It was like summer camp,” Wilbon said on ESPN on Monday. “They knew who they wanted to spend the summer with, and they knew who they didn’t want to spend the summer with.
“Hanging that on Michael Jordan is just inaccurate … That group of people, I’m going to say nine out of 12, they made it known to whomever that this wasn’t somebody they wanted in their summer camp.”
Wilbon quickly apologizes
Just hours after his appearance on ESPN, Wilbon apologized to Thomas on Twitter.
Apparently, he was “dead wrong” about nine members of the Dream Team not wanting to play with Thomas.
My apologies to Isiah Thomas... multiple sources reached out to tell me I'm dead wrong to say 9 members of the Dream Team objected to Isiah being on the '92 Olympic team. Nowhere near that number objected. My apologies to Isiah for getting it wrong...
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) May 5, 2020
Thomas accepted the apology soon after, too.
So, it seems, the debate lives on.
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