NBA legend Michael Jordan once demanded $350,000 more for movie cameo than his rival Isiah Thomas

Basketball giants have often made cameo appearances in movies and TV shows that have amazed fans. NBA legends Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas were no different, with ‘Heaven is a Playground’ being one such film.

Jordan’s competitive mindset extended beyond the basketball court, as he notoriously demanded a bigger pay for a movie appearance than Isiah Thomas, his on-court adversary. This fascinating incident exemplifies Jordan’s unwavering desire to be at the top, even in the area of entertainment.

Michael Jordan asked for $350,000 more than Isiah Thomas for movie cameo

The longstanding rivalry between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas was fueled by ego and animosity, and it even extended to a seemingly simple movie cameo. During the early stages of their NBA careers, His Airness’ desire to outshine his peers was evident when he demanded a staggering $350,000 more than Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas for this brief appearance.

The cameo offer for the film “Heaven Is A Playground” initially stood at $50,000, a sum Thomas was willing to accept. However, His Airness, with his bruised ego and competitive spirit, insisted on a six-figure paycheck. After protracted negotiations, Jordan eventually appeared in the movie but for a substantial fee of over $400,000, a stark contrast to the initial offer.

This clash of egos was heightened by Black Jesus’s rapid rise to stardom. He acknowledged the impact he was having on the league and the public at large by establishing himself as the NBA’s face. MJ was determined to prove his supremacy in areas beyond basketball, and he saw the film cameo as an opportunity to do so.

Why Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas don’t like each other?

The strained relationship between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas dates back to the 1980s and is marked by several significant incidents. One of the most infamous moments took place during the 1985 NBA All-Star Game when Zeke, along with a group of players, orchestrated a freeze-out of Black Cat.

This involved intentionally not passing the ball to Jordan, effectively sidelining him in the game. This incident deeply hurt and angered Black Jesus, who felt disrespected by Bighead and the other players involved.

The rivalry between the two escalated with contentious playoff matchups between Thomas’ Detroit Pistons and Black Cat’s Chicago Bulls in the late 1980s. The Pistons often got the better of the Bulls during this period, adding to the tension.

One iconic moment that highlighted their feud was when MJ walked off the court without shaking hands with the Pistons after a playoff loss in 1991. This action is often attributed to the lingering animosity between Black Cat and Zeke. The Bulls eventually defeated the Pistons in the EC Finals, essentially ending the Pistons’ dynasty and cementing the rivalry’s position within the history of the NBA.

What are your thoughts on Jordan and Isiah Thomas’ notorious rivalry? Share with us below.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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