As The Last Dance has reminded us, there was never any love lost between Isaiah Thomas’s Detroit Pistons and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the animosity between Jordan and Thomas is deep and enduring. Jordan memorably said of his old rival that “there’s no way you can convince me that [Thomas] is not an asshole.”
And certainly Jordan has a point. Thomas has, at many points in his career, been a jerk. There was the alleged All-Star freeze out of Jordan, the no handshakes at the end of the series where Chicago finally overcame Detroit, his allegedly causing a brawl by ordering his Knicks players to commit a Pistons-like foul against Denver, the sexual harassment suit, the whole Bad Boys thing and on and on and on.
There’s no question that he has a jerky side.
Yet there’s also no question that he was a brilliant basketball player who had enormous heart. He’s been called the best little man to ever play the game. Steph Curry could challenge that now but can't think of anyone who can challenge him as the best little man ever around the basket. Thomas had an incredible talent for penetrating and shooting over bigger players.
You’ll see here on a couple of occasions that he gets shots off on much bigger players like Magic Johnson. He compensates for his small size by incorporating his shooting motion into a sneaky leap: he’s already shooting as he goes up and just adjusts the angle accordingly.
He was a brilliant talent who to an extent was overshadowed by the whole Bad Boys thing, at times his own poor judgement and in the end certainly by Jordan and the Bulls.
Leave all that aside and watch what he did because the guy was legitimately great.