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Dream Team architect Rod Thorn: Michael Jordan never discussed Isiah Thomas

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Dream Team architect: MJ never discussed Isiah Thomas (1:54)

Former Bulls GM and Dream Team architect Rod Thorn recalls his conversation with Michael Jordan and says Isiah Thomas was never discussed. (1:54)

Isiah Thomas is still upset at being left off the Dream Team and recently said he would be even more disappointed if Michael Jordan helped influence his omission from the roster.

But Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive who played a key role in assembling the Dream Team roster for the 1992 Olympics, denied ever speaking with Jordan about keeping Thomas off the team.

"There was never anything in my conversation with [Jordan] that had to do with Isiah Thomas, period," Thorn said Wednesday during an interview with ESPN's Golic & Wingo. "He said, 'I'll do it.' ... Isiah's name never came up during that conversation. And he never backtracked and said he didn't want to do it from that time on, to those of us in the NBA office.

"Now, if that in fact happened, then it happened with somebody else; because when I talked to him, he ended up saying he would definitely do it."

Thomas reflected on his relationship with Jordan during a series of interviews Monday, one day after Episode 3 of the ESPN docuseries "The Last Dance" focused on the rivalry between Thomas' Detroit Pistons and Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Thomas told ESPN's Get Up that he has paid a "heavy price" for refusing the shake hands with Jordan and the Bulls after the 1991 Eastern Conference finals and said he would be extremely disappointed if the infamous snub was a factor in his omission from the Dream Team.

"I thought I should've made that Dream Team," Thomas said Monday. "However, I wasn't a part of it -- that hurt me.

"Looking back, if I'm not a part of the Dream Team because a lapse in emotion in terms of not shaking someone's hand -- if that's the reason why I didn't make the Dream Team, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then when I wasn't selected."

Thorn was a member of the selection committee for the Dream Team, which rolled to the gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

He said he personally called Jordan and that Thomas never was brought up in their conversation. He also said no other players on the Dream Team mentioned Thomas to him.

"My conversation with Michael was strictly about Michael, about Michael playing," Thorn said. "Obviously, the committee was hopeful that Michael would play, because he was the No. 1 player in the league at that time and the No. 1 player in the world and the most popular player in the world at that time.

"But he didn't say anything to me about [Thomas], and I certainly had no reason to bring it up either."

Thorn was asked why Thomas was not on the roster, assuming Jordan had no input.

"That's a good question, because Isiah was a great player, a fantastic player," Thorn said. "There was some controversy with the Pistons regarding not shaking hands with the Bulls -- there was some bad blood, obviously, there. ... But when we ended up going with the first 10 guys, he did not end up making the team."

Thorn also mentioned James Worthy, Reggie Miller and Dominique Wilkins as notable NBA stars who did not make the Dream Team, saying the selection committee had a "long list of players that we initially looked at."

Thorn was the Bulls' general manager from 1978 to 1985 and oversaw the team's selection of Jordan in the 1984 draft. He said Jordan initially balked at participating in the 1992 Games.

"I was the guy that called Jordan," Thorn said. "And when I called Jordan, his first inclination was he didn't know if he wanted to play or not -- because, as he said, 'I played on an Olympic team before' with Bobby Knight in Los Angeles. ... And so we continued the conversation, and at the end of the conversation, he said, 'You know something? I'll do it.'"