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  InterBasket > Player Profiles > Isiah Thomas, Usa  > talk From "Thomas helped build a last-place Detroit Pistons team into back-to-back NBA champions in the late 1980s. 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 refused to let his height limit what he could do on the court. He was a dangerous shooter from any spot on the floor, a smart passer and a smooth, clever playmaker. He was also known for his full-speed, acrobatic drives into the teeth of the toughest and tallest frontcourtmen. Thomas took whatever defenses gave him, whether it was a three-pointer, the baseline, the lane or an alley-oop opportunity. He combined intelligence, court savvy and physical gifts to attain true NBA superstardom. Off the court, Thomas was a tireless charity worker known for his sincerity and compassion..."

From He left Indiana University for the National Basketball Association in 1981, after a sophomore year in which he led the Hoosiers to the NCAA national title; he earned a bachelor's degree from IU in criminal justice several years later, as he promised his mother in writing that he would when he left college early to enter the NBA draft.

From (Facts and Tidbits): # After leaving Indiana early, Thomas' mother made him promise in writing he would finish his degree. He did, earning a degree in criminal justice in 1988.  # Shortly after arriving in Detroit, Thomas had a falling out with coach Scotty Robertson, who wanted Thomas to be more of a passer and defender than a scorer.  # Thomas scored a career-high 47 points against the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 13, 1983.  # In the fifth and deciding game of the first round of the 1984 Eastern Conference playoffs, Thomas scored 16 points in the last 94 seconds of the fourth quarter to rally Detroit to force overtime. However, the Knicks beat the Pistons, 127-123, in the extra session.  # Twice within a week in February 1985, Thomas had 25 assists, against the Washington Bullets and Dallas Mavericks.  # Although Thomas denied there was a rift between him and Michael Jordan, their relationship was hardly cordial. At the 1985 All-Star Game, Thomas passed Jordan the ball only twice. "There was no plot," Thomas said. "It was Michael's first All-Star Game and you know what? He just didn't play well."  # When the Dream Team was announced in 1991, there was speculation that Jordan got his payback when Thomas was left off the team.  # Thomas on Jordan: "I never knew him, he never knew me. Not that we didn't like each other, but I played for Detroit and he played for the Bulls. I went home and was with my family and he did the same."  # In 1986, Thomas organized a "No Crime Day" in Detroit. Venturing into some of the city's tough neighborhoods, he asked drug dealers and gang members to give crime a day off.  # Thomas received a two-game suspension in 1989 for retaliating from a Bill Cartwright elbow by punching the Chicago Bulls center in the head. Thomas broke his left hand.  # In 1989, Thomas was listed as one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People."  # Against the Lakers in Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals, Thomas scored 14 points in less than five minutes of the third quarter before spraining an ankle. After sitting out briefly, he returned and scored 11 more points in the period to give him 25, a Finals record for most points in a period. He finished the game with 43. # When the Pistons were eliminated in a four-game sweep by the Bulls in the 1991 Eastern Conference final, Thomas organized a walkout in which the Pistons refused to shake hands with the winners. # In November 1991, two months after the Dream Team was announced, the Bulls' Scottie Pippen labeled Thomas a cheap-shot artist and said he wouldn't play on the Olympic team if Thomas was one of the two players added to fill out the squad.  # In December 1991, Thomas took a blow from Utah's Karl Malone that required 40 stitches over his left eye. He had vision problems and headaches for two weeks, but missed only three games. # Some Pistons believe Malone was paying Thomas back for scoring 44 points against teammate and fellow Dream Team member John Stockton in their previous meeting. Thomas said he belonged on the Olympic Team, and the inference was that it was over Stockton.  # Thomas was head of the NBA Players' Association for his final six seasons in the league.

Isiah Thomas Profile

Name: Isiah Lord Thomas III
Nickname: Zeke, The Baby Faced Assassin (Charlotte Observer)
Born: 04/30/1961
Status: Retired as player; Inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall-Of-Fame as a player on October 13, 2000; Served as commissioner of the CBA; Coach the Indiana Pacers; Active as GM and coach of the New York Knicks.
Origin: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Height: 6-1/1,85m
Weight: 185lbs/84,1kg
Schools: Indiana University
Drafted: 1981, First Round, 2nd overall by the Detroit Pistons
Languages: English
Website: InterBasket & Zeke11.
Teams (jersey): *Us National Team, Indiana Hoosiers (11), Detroit Pistons (11)
Ibn Notes: Considered one of the best, if not the best little man to ever play the game. Isiah Thomas thrived and excited crowds with his giant-killer antics. Zeke led the Detroit Pistons to consecutive NBA championships in 1989-1990 against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988-89 and the Clyde Drexler-led Portland Trailblazers in 1989-90.  Known for his mesmerizing dribbling, his creative passing (setting a league record for assist average per game at 14.1 before losing that record to John Stockton several years later), and circus layups, Isiah Thomas was a walking "And 1 Mix Tape" before there were "And 1 Mix Tapes."

Isiah Thomas, along with Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn, Vinnie Johnson, James Edwards, and Mark Aguirre (Adrian Dantley) formed the core group of the Bad Boys; the Detroit Piston team that won the NBA Championship in 1989 and 1990, and winning the Central Division crown and Eastern Conference Titles in 1988, 1989, and 1990.
* Stuart's Take: One of my favorite players of all-time.  Growing up, I idolized Isiah Thomas and modeled my game after him.  I loved his moves, his passing, his underdog status... Thomas was named to the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, but the U.S. had boycotted that year's games in Moscow in protest of the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.  Zeke had another chance at Olympic gold, but wasn't included on the original Dream Team in 1992.  I don't care what anyone says, he deserved to be on that team over John Stockton, and certainly over Christian Laettner.

 Accomplishments: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2000); NBA champion (1989, 1990); NBA Finals MVP (1990); All-NBA First Team (1984, 1985, '86); All-NBA Second Team (1983, 1987); NBA All-Rookie Team (1982); 12-time NBA All-Star (1982-93); NBA All-Star Game MVP (1984, 1986).

Quote: "I'm the only guy walking the face of the earth that can say I beat (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan) more than they beat me..." - Isiah Thomas
Isiah Thomas Links  From our forum: NBA Basketball Forum  Articles and other resources:  siah Thomas Fan Site, The Right Stuff NBA Superstars Video; Isiah Thomas (YouTube), Isiah's Pro Debut (, Isiah Thomas Profile (,  Isiah Defied the Odds (ESPN Sportscentury), Thomas Still Seeks Validation (USA Today), This is My House: Isiah Thomas HIghlight Video (YouTube), Great Isiah Thomas Facts and Tidbits (, Dumars says there's no rift with Thomas (, Isiah Thomas Mix (YouTube)