Chuck Daly Apparently Helped MJ Keep Isiah Off Dream Team

"You know what? Chuck doesn’t want Isiah."

Will Burchfield
May 26, 2020 - 12:29 pm
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Around and around we go with Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas. 

The latest twist to the 'You Can't Play With Us' saga involves former Pistons coach Chuck Daly, who apparently backed Jordan's stance to keep Thomas off the Dream Team. What's more, Jordan is now on record stating his unwillingness to play if Thomas got the invite. 

This comes from the Dream Team Tapes podcast with Jack McCallum.

In an interview with McCallum, the former Sports Illustrated writer who covered the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics, Jordan recounts a conversation he had with USA Basketball selection committee member Rod Thorn in the leadup to the games. 

"Rod Thorn called me. I said, 'Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.' He assured me. He said, 'You know what? Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team,'" Jordan said. 

It's not a huge surprise to hear this from Jordan. His beef with Thomas is well documented, stemming from the Pistons' infamous walk-off at the end of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, and he certainly didn't hold back in 'The Last Dance.' 

But it's fairly stunning that Daly was anti-Isiah, if true. Daly coached Thomas for nine seasons in Detroit. They won two championships together. If anyone was going to vouch for Thomas to be on the Dream Team, wouldn't it have been Daly?

David Robinson: Isiah Shouldn't Be Surprised He Was Left Off Dream Team

And wouldn't he have had the pull? He was the head coach after all. 

But according to Jordan, Daly went the other way -- and he wouldn't coach Thomas again. 

He became head coach of the Nets the very next season.