In an ESPN interview quoted by Sportando, Isiah Thomas, one of the biggest haters of Michael Jordan stated with regret: “We were coming down, Michael Jordan was coming up. And in coming up, you have certain emotions, and in coming down as champions, you have certain emotions. … Looking back, over the years, had we had the opportunity to do it all over again, I think all of us would make a different decision. I’ve paid a heavy price for that decision”.
He is speaking about the last game when Detroit Pistons were eliminated by Chicago Bulls and he didn’t accept that loss and that’s why he didn’t shake hands with Michael. Now he finally realized it was a big mistake. If Jordan would have refused to shake hands with the Bad Boys who fouled him hard all the time, we would have understood. He hated them because they were brutal and their fouls today would be called unsportsmanlike fouls.
The emotion was too big at that moment and not only Isiah Thomas avoid to shake hands with Jordan, but as well Bill Laimbeer, who stated a couple of days ago that he doesn’t regret the fact. It’s a pity that after such a long time, nothing’s gonna change for some people. Hating the others after 30 years it looks for me completely childish.
On the opposite, two of the greatest rivals ever, Earvin Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who were dominating the ’80s, when their teams combined for 8 NBA titles, became close friends, even releasing a book together. That’s where the healthy rivalries have to lead the players. Accepting the fight on the court, being able to shake hands after and respecting each other for life. That’s what sports have to teach us all. More than winning games, winning hearts.
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