NBA 75th Anniversary Season LogoNBA 75th   Anniversary Team

Isiah Thomas

NBA Champion
NBA Finals MVP
NBA All-Star

Things to Know

The scrappy, smart, bad boy playmaker.

Despite standing just 6-foot-1, Isiah Thomas made a large impression on the NBA in the 1980s. He took the Pistons from an also-ran team to two NBA championships and became one of the greatest "small men" in NBA history while becoming a legendary and beloved figure in Detroit sports history.

Isiah Thomas grew up in Chicago, where he starred at St. Joseph’s in Westchester, leading the team to the state title game as a junior in 1978. In 1979, Thomas was a member of the gold medal-winning United States team at the Pan-American Games.

After winning two national championships at Indiana, Thomas passed up his his final two years of collegiate eligibility and entered the 1981 NBA Draft, where he was selected 2nd overall by the Pistons.

As one of the NBA’s greatest point guards, Thomas had an immediate impact in turning around the Detroit Pistons, becoming an All-Star starter in his first season. He would go on to be a 12-time All-Star, taking home All-Star Game MVP honors twice (1984, '86).

Thomas led the Pistons, known as the “Bad Boys” for their gritty play, to back-to-back NBA championships. The Pistons defeated the Lakers in 1989, when Thomas averaged 21.3 points and 7.3 assists and beat the Trail Blazers in 1990 when he was named NBA Finals MVP after averaging 27.6 ppg and 7.0 apg.

Perhaps his greatest individual moment came in defeat. In the 1988 Finals with Detroit holding a 3-2 series lead, Thomas suffered a badly sprained ankle in the third quarter. He left the game, then came back and finished the quarter, all while making history. He set a Finals record by scoring 25 points in one quarter -- most of which took place while he was hobbled -- and finished with 43 points, eight assists and six steals in Detroit's 103-102 loss.

Along with Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and John Stockton, Thomas became the fourth player in NBA history to amass more than 9,000 assists. His 13.9 apg in 1984-85 set an NBA record for the highest single-season average ever until Stockton bested it with 14.5 apg in 1989-90.

Thomas retired with 18,822 points (19.2 ppg), 9,061 assists (9.3 apg), and 1,861 steals over 979 games -- all Pistons records. He shot 45.2% from the field and 75.9% from the free-throw line and is Detroit's all-time leader in free throws made and attempted as well as field goals and field goals attempted.

After his playing career, Thomas spent four years as part owner and executive Vice President of the Toronto Raptors from 1994-1998. From 2000-03, Thomas was coach of the Indiana Pacers, where he compiled a 131-115 record and led the team to the playoffs all three seasons. From there, Thomas moved on to the New York Knicks, where he was president of basketball operations from December of 2003 until 2008.

Thomas has spent time as a television commentator as an in-game analyst with NBC and currently works as a regular contributor as a studio analyst for NBA TV. In 1996-97, Thomas was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history and in 2000 was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.


NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Isiah Thomas

NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas NBA Finals Film Room


PTS (1st All-Time DET)
AST (1st All-Time DET)

* Through the 2020-21 season

Career regular season stats

View Complete Stats

75thAnniversary Team
scroll down to view the player list

Selected for being pioneers that have helped shape, define, and redefine the game. This is the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.