Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Looking back at this Dream Team team photo, seeing Christian Laettner sitting there instead of Isiah Thomas still doesn’t look right.
Looking back at this Dream Team team photo, seeing Christian Laettner sitting there instead of Isiah Thomas still doesn’t look right.
Photo: U.S. Olympics

The Admiral should face a court martial.

Or at least, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson should be demoted.

It’s just that you would expect so much more out of an honorable military man. Instead, Robinson took the easy way out, ripping fellow Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.

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For sure, it took little courage.

After all, Robinson just piled on Thomas who has been nothing more than a human-size piñata since Michael Jordan’s documentary “The Last Dance” began airing on ESPN.

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Players have been coming out of the woodwork to bash Thomas almost 30 years after the fact.

OK. We get it. Zeke, the charter member of the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” days, wasn’t a Boy Scout, or the most beloved player in the Association back in those days.

But to kick a man — one talented basketball player, in fact — while he’s down is uncalled for.

Enter Robinson.

Recently on “Bulls Talk Podcast,” he sounded like a middle schooler telling the teacher about little Johnnie in the playground.

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The subject? Isiah Thomas and the Dream Team snub.

“If you have a reputation and you take pride in your reputation as a ‘Bad Boy’ it kind of means people aren’t gonna like you,” Robinson said, via NBC Sports. “Can you be that surprised when people say ‘I don’t really want to play with a Bad Boy?’”

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Robinson added, “When you talk about putting a team together, chemistry matters. It does. You can’t act like it doesn’t matter and for that team it was clear that was a consideration for all the people involved.”

Chemistry. What a joke. Really? NBA stars against the rest of the world’s lame basketball talent at that time. The Dream Team could have sent any four players out there at a time and would have won... easily.

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They weren’t games. They were slaughters.

Do you rememberer the scores? The Washington Generals could have won in Barcelona. In the opener of the 1992 Olympics, the Dream Team rolled to a 116-48 win over Angola, the 68-point margin of victory was the largest by a U.S. team in the games in 40 years.

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For sure, Zeke would have ruined the chemistry. Please.

If Isiah Thomas’ association with the Piston “Bad Boys” kept him off the Dream Team as David Robinson suggests, curious Pistons head coach Chuck Daly directed the team.
If Isiah Thomas’ association with the Piston “Bad Boys” kept him off the Dream Team as David Robinson suggests, curious Pistons head coach Chuck Daly directed the team.
Photo: AP
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The other part coming from Robinson that makes no sense is the Bad Boy rep. Thomas couldn’t be on the team, but the coach of the Bad Boys, Chuck Daly, was the Dream Team coach. What? Hello. And the Dream Team GM? Oh wait. It was Jack McCloskey, who put the Bad Boys together in Detroit.

Talk about an honorable man. McCloskey stepped down from his post when he found out Zeke wasn’t going to be on the team. It remains a sports travesty.

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Let’s face it. The only guy who kept Thomas off the team was Jordan. So for Robinson and others to say they didn’t like Isiah now is phony.

Jordan hated Zeke then — and still now. You can even see it now in the doc. Jordan’s skin crawls at the mere mention of Thomas.

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But Jordan was wrong. He cheated Isiah and all basketball fans of a chance to see the greatest basketball talent assembled on one team. Period. Christian Laettner? He had no business being on that team. None.

The Dream Team shouldn’t have been about feelings or just one guy.

I wish Robinson and the others would have had the courage to stand up to Jordan and tell him to his face that it wasn’t just about him, but about everyone, and the competitive spirit of basketball. A spot on the team was earned through play on the court, not the court of public opinion.

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It wasn’t supposed to be a popularity contest or a beauty contest.

All players have flaws, not just Zeke.

And Robinson, of all people, who served two years in the Navy as a Lieutenant after graduating from Annapolis, should know better. You think everyone in the military shares the same ideas or values. No way, no how. It doesn’t mean you can’t come together and get the job done.

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Funny thing is that Zeke not being the most pleasant guy didn’t stop him from being on the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list, or being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. That’s when I would have wanted to hear Robinson denounce Zeke.

Not now.

The Admiral, you’re dismissed.

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