By: Terry Foster
I find it interesting that Magic Johnson comes to the defense of Isiah Thomas during a meaningless ESPN poll where he rightfully says Thomas is better than former Utah Jazz star John Stockton and current Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry.
Johnson spouted off on twitter when ESPN said Stockton is the third best point guard history and ranked Curry fourth and Thomas fifth. Magic earned his rightful spot as the greatest of all time.
Where was Silent Johnson to defend Thomas when he was denied entry on the 1992 Dream Team that played in the Barcelona Olympics? Thomas should have been on that team instead of Stockton. However, rivals Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, who both played for the Chicago Bulls shut the door on him. Why didn't Magic, who still had some power, step up then and say Thomas was better than Stockton? Why didn't he demand that Thomas, who won two titles, be placed on the team?
Thomas is better than Stockton. It was the truth then and it is the truth today. Thomas did not make the team because he was involved in a bitter rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers and Bulls. Stockton was the harmless guy that put up lots of numbers but at the time was not a serious threat to win a title.
Thomas used to light Stockton up like a match stick. It became so bad that Stockton's teammate Karl Malone cracked Thomas on the side of the head on a pick and roll causing more than 70 stitches. Why? Isiah lit his boy up for 40 points because of the Dream Team snub. Doctors said the head trauma was the same as going through a car crash at 55 miles per hour.
"That was the cheapest (bleep) in the history of the game," Thomas told me when I worked for The Detroit News.
Part of the reason that young basketball experts believe Stockton is better than Thomas is because of the Dream Team snub. And former Pistons coach Chuck Daly is not blameless. He did not want to deal with the politics of his own team because Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman wanted on the team. Sorry, but Rodman and Dumars were not in the same class as Thomas.
Daly, who coached the Dream Team, did not want to get involved.
Stockton, who averaged 13.1 points and 10.2 assists, was the ultimate floor general and ran the pick and roll with Malone to perfection. Here is the problem. Many of those assists were phantom and Utah never won an NBA title. Thomas went to three NBA Finals and was a phantom Bill Laimbeer foul from winning three titles.
In time Curry's legacy will surpass Thomas. However, he is still building a resume. He is in his seventh season in the league and his scoring numbers (21.4 points a game) and shooting (47.4 percent) surpasses Thomas who averaged 19.1 points, 9.2 assists and shot 45.2 percent from the floor.
Curry averages 6.9 assists per game. I love watching Curry play. He will be at the Palace Saturday when the run away Golden State Warriors come to the Palace to give the emerging Pistons another lesson in how to win games. Many will come for the Ben Wallace retirement ceremony. Please stick around to see Curry do his thing.
"There is no way Stockton and Curry are better than Isiah," Johnson tweeted. "Let me remind everyone, young and old, that I played against (Thomas) when he was hurt & hobbling and (Thomas) still scored 25 points in one quarter in the NBA Finals."
He is right. But why did Magic remain silent when it really counted?
Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@cbsradio.com.
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