ESPN is famous for putting out Top 10 lists, especially during slow news cycles.
We get it. It’s usually fun and harmless. After all, sports isn’t math. In math, 2 + 2 = 4, no matter who is doing the counting. In sports, opinions are often bigger than actual stats.
Enter ESPN’s Top 10 Point Guards. The list is a total dis of former Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas.
Somehow, the list-makers have Zeke, the baddest of the Bad Boys, listed as the fifth-best point guard ever.
Few will argue with the selection of Magic Johnson as the No. 1 all-time point guard and Oscar Robertson second.
But John Stockton third and Steph Curry No.4?
No way, no how! It’s a reach, at best.
Easily, Isiah is third on the list. He not only has the stats, but the back-to-back championships in Motown to prove it as well.
We get all of Stockton’s assists. But head-to-head? Zeke owned Stockton. Plus, Stockton never led his team to a title. This slight is just plain dumb.
As for Curry, most fans and pundits are simply prisoners of the moment. Apparently, whatevers the flavor of the month is better than anything ESPN doesn’t have video of.
Curry is en route to a Hall of Fame career. But he’s not there yet. It’s a premature selection based on full potential, not present day production.
Curry was so great in the NBA Finals that he didn’t get a single vote for Finals MVP. Wait, wasn’t he the league MVP?
Yes, the Golden State Warriors won the championship. No one wants to take anything away from Curry and his team. But fourth-best he is not. And ahead of Isiah? Please.
Even Magic took exception to the poll on Twitter. He wrote: “ESPN ranked the Top 10 PGs of all time & they have @iamisiahthomas ranked 5th. There’s no way Stockton & Curry are better than Isiah.”
If anyone should know, it’s Magic who had epic battles against Zeke. He won some and lost some.
Magic added: “Let me remind everyone, young and old, I played against @iamisiahthomas when he was hurt & hobbling on one leg…”
“…and 2@iamisiahthomas still scored 25 points in one quarter in the NBA Finals!”
These are the same people who named Michael Jordan the greatest player of the century over Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson.
It’s a sham, in the same way that Isiah was left off the Dream Team in 1992. Most know Zeke’s snub was Jordan’s behind-the-scenes dirty work, whether there is absolute proof or not.
Somehow, Stockton made that team over Isiah. It was clearly politics, not basketball.
That was bull and so is this latest disrespect to Isiah.
You don’t have to like Zeke.
We get it. There’s a checkered past that makes people cringe.
In 1985, Zeke was the mastermind to an apparent “freeze out” of Jordan in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game. Jordan only had nine shots in the game despite being a starter.
In 1987, folks didn’t like Isiah because he backed Dennis Rodman’s comments against Larry Bird. Thomas agreed with Rodman who said if Bird was black he “would be just another guy” instead of being portrayed as the league’s best player.
In 1991, after Jordan’s Chicago Bulls finally eliminated the two-time defending champion Pistons, Thomas and most of his teammates walked off the court without shaking the Bulls’ hands.
As an executive with the New York Knicks in 2006, Isiah was involved in an employment and harassment lawsuit filed by a former female executive. The case was settled for $11.5 million.
All of that is on the record and duly noted.
Still, you should respect what that man was able to do on the court at his size. Few were tougher or had more heart. Even fewer were leaders of men in the way that Zeke was.
Isiah, the 2nd overall pick out of Indiana in 1981, was a great point guard, one of the best three the NBA has ever seen. His numbers are better than his popularity with some.
He was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team. He was a 12-time All-Star. He averaged more than 19 points and nine assists in his career. He’s in both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Most of all, Zeke is better than Stockton and Curry. If you don’t believe so, its obvious that you probably never saw him play.