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NBA legend Isiah Thomas says Michael Jordan was only his 5th toughest opponent

Michael Jordan (Photo credit: / Lev Radin)

Former NBA superstar Isiah Thomas created shockwaves that reverberated throughout the sports world — once again — when he said that fellow legend Michael Jordan, was only his fifth toughest opponent.

Thomas, 59, was a two-time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons, a 12-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBA player that culminated in a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction. Therefore, when the leader of the iconic “Bad Boys” speaks, folks tend to listen, especially when the subject is about his archenemy Jordan.

In an appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay,” Thomas ranked Michael Jordan as only the fifth-toughest player he faced, after Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Julius “Dr. J” Erving.

Since the airing of the explosive documentary “The Last Dance,” where Jordan called Thomas an “a–hole,” Thomas has abandoned the practice of being publicly deferential and complimentary of Jordan in order to keep the peace. The man called “Zeke” is now speaking more candidly with an edge whenever the subject of Jordan comes up.

And in his interview with NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe on his podcast “Club Shay Shay,” Thomas explains in the interview why Jordan was not his top competitor when he reigned in the 1980s.

Sharpe tried to help Thomas explain that while folks marveled over Jordan’s aerial acrobatics in the 80s, MJ did not win until the 1991 NBA Finals. By that time, Thomas was on the verge of retirement along with the other 80s megastar players.