Tag: Isiah Thomas

isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas regrets walking off the floor without shaking hands following ’91 playoff loss to Jordan’s Bulls


In the ’80s and early ’90s, the Eastern Conference featured dominant teams that managed to stay on top for several seasons before being dethroned by the next in line.

The Celtics had the East on lockdown, before finally being unseated by the Detroit Pistons. The Bad Boys era led by Isiah Thomas yielded back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, before Michael Jordan’s Bulls took control in the 1991 season.

Detroit didn’t exactly embrace the end of its era. After beating the Bulls in hard-fought playoff series in each of the previous two seasons, the Pistons were swept in the Conference Finals on their home floor, and didn’t bother sticking around for the ceremonial handshakes that traditionally come following the final buzzer.

Thomas regrets that decision all these years later, and says in an upcoming episode of NBA TV’s Open Court (seen in the video clip above) that if he had it to do over again, he and his teammates would have stayed on the court to pay their proper respect to Jordan and the Bulls.

Isiah Thomas wants on your television set more than in Madison Square Garden

Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas continues to haunt Knicks fans like the ghost of Balkmans past. Meetings with James Dolan, consulting for superstars and their careers, Knicks fans are always looking over their shoulder for the return of the once and future GM. Well maybe now they can rest a little easier. Thomas said in an interview with Fox Sports, transcribed by the New York Post he’d rather be on television than in the front office.

“I’ve auditioned for the job, if they pick me that would be great,” Thomas said. “I would love to be a part of the show and give my thoughts and opinions on championship basketball and NBA basketball and life in general in the NBA.”

Thomas said his “preference” would be to land that job, as opposed to return to the Knicks organization. Dolan requested a lunch with the team’s former president and coach in early September, which set off speculation of a return to the organization. It would be a widely unpopular move considering Thomas’ failures with the organization, but nothing appears to be imminent.

“Jim Dolan and I had lunch as we often do, and we are very good friends, and we talk from time to time,” Thomas said. “I have great relationships with the organization, so I guess there was some speculation as there’s always been about me going back there. And that’s where it’s at.”

via Isiah prefers ESPN job over role with Knicks.

That’s leaving just enough of a window open for a sequel. It’s like that scene after the credits where the monster is still alive.

Thomas on television would be incredible. He’s one of the most personable and likeable people on the surface, that’s what nearly everyone says about him. He has stories and insight for day as not only a Hall of Famer, but an exec and an advisor. It would be must-see television nearly every night. But it comes with it a whole other set of challenges, considering his relative credibility and public favorability. You wouldn’t even have to work him into your existing coverage. Just put him in a room with a mic and a camera and see where things take you.

HT: HoopsHype

Report: ESPN considering Isiah Thomas as studio analyst

Isiah Thomas

You may not remember this, but before Isiah Thomas was a bad college coach or was ruining the Knicks, he was a pretty mediocre television analyst back when this network broadcast NBA games.

Now, ESPN/ABC may be bringing him back to the studio.

At least they are thinking about it, reports the New York Post.

Isiah Thomas , who had an undistinguished run as an NBA in-game analyst with NBC — and as a Knicks’ exec was successfully sued for sexual harassment — is a candidate for a studio position with ESPN.

Yes, we are talking the New York Post, so take this rumor with plenty of salt. Exactly what role in studio we don’t know, but you can imagine Thomas would jump at this kind of opportunity to keep himself in the limelight.

But the sexual harassment thing is a good point — if you are a corporation thinking about hiring Thomas your workplace culture and the risks have to be considered.

My guess is nothing comes of this. But I also think he will land a job somewhere in or around the NBA. If I had to guess where, I would imagine with a team on a very densely populated island in New York, but that would just be speculation.

NBA community reaches out in Chicago to help peace efforts

Joakim Noah France

In August, 10 people were shot overnight. In one night. In September, there were  eleven homicides in five days. The murder rate always goes up in the summer, in an unfathomably, heartrendingly simple example of how simply our worst instincts can be expressed. Much of the violence this summer has been attached to gang violence, or, an emerging term, “clique” violence, according to NPR. I can’t pretend to understand the socioeconomic conflicts that constitute what is going on in inner city Chicago, but I do know some people, including several with NBA ties, are trying to help.

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com reported from the Peace Basketball Tournament, an effort to bring awareness and open lines of communication to try and stop the violence. And at the center of the event was a familiar face:

Last month, (Isiah) Thomas marched with Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina to raise awareness about gang violence and Chicago’s soaring murder rate. This time, Thomas – along with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph, the Chicago Bears’ J’Marcus Webb and others – was trying to bridge the gap between rivals with basketball, using the celebrity of the sports stars to deliver messages about, well, communicating.

“It’s a historical event where the gangs are coming together and they’re going to play a game involving peace, to stop the killing,” Thomas said. “Murder has run rampant in Chicago the last couple years, but gangs are calling a truce for this. By getting them to come together and play a sport, they might come to know each other. We believe it’s hard to kill someone if you get to know him.”

via Chicago Gangs Give Peace Hoops a Chance « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

The event centered around a basketball tournament that split teams by joining up members of rival gangs. Having those kind of players who not only are star athletes they can look up to, but who have a connection to the city and understand what goes on there. And as Pfleger said:

“These cats comin’ down tells these brothers, ‘We care about you. We love you,’ ” Pfleger said. “You see the reaction. People are so thrilled, so excited. This isn’t happening at the United Center. This is happening on 79th St. That’s the key.”

via Chicago Gangs Give Peace Hoops a Chance « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

These events go unnoticed, because that’s how we’re conditioned. This post will get substantially less traffic than whatever explosive nonsense quote we put up in the next 24 hours. And maybe that’s a failure on our part to highlight these things. But its’ a shared responsibility. Fans, regardless of where they’re from or what their lifestyle is, need to take note of these efforts. Awareness needs to be raised, because there’s a war going on and we desperately need to bring more attention to it in order to construct more conversation and then resources to solve these problems.

Addendum: This is yet another indication of the complex figure that is Isiah Thomas. You’re not going to find any lack of criticism for Thomas in my work, not only for his work with the CBA and the Knicks, but with his behavior in regards to the lawsuit against MSG. But there is no denying the strong connection and trust players have with him, nor the way he’s tried to be a positive force for communities and in the lives of players. You can’t paint someone with one brush, and his work in Chicago, which stems from his mother’s contribution (seriously, read the above) is just the latest in the roaming dialogue you can have on any given day about him.

Report: Isiah Thomas could have job with Knicks but is hesitant to take it. For now.

Isaih Thomas Introduced as New Knicks GM

Right now, the Madison Square Garden organization — which owns the New York Knicks (along with the Rangers and other assets) — is in flux. Young, hard-charging MSG sports president Scott O’Neil is out and we don’t know which direction MSG goes next. Or how that impacts the Knicks.

So Knicks and MSG head honcho James Dolan did what everyone does when they have big decisions to make — he reached out to a trusted advisor and consultant.

Isiah Thomas.

That sends shivers down the spines of Knicks fans. Whether they like it or not, Thomas could have a job with the Knicks but doesn’t want it, a source told Frank Isola of the Daily News.

“Isiah is very close with Jim Dolan but he’s told me that he’s not ready to jump back into the NBA just yet,” said the source, who was with Thomas on Friday at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. “There’s this perception out there that Isiah is desperate to get back, but that’s false. I think it will eventually happen but just not now.”

Sounds like spin to me. Thomas and Dolan know the backlash that would follow with Thomas being hired in any capacity — Knicks fans loathe the idea — so rather than make it official Thomas stays an unofficial consultant while saying “I don’t want a job.”

Not that it really changes anything. Dolan meeting with Thomas Friday spun a lot of heads because the conventional wisdom is Thomas would do anything to get back in the NBA and with the Knicks. No doubt there is a desire. He tried to consult with them while a college coach, but the NBA was able to kill that (you can’t be a college coach and NBA consultant at the same time, that’s the rules).

So did Dolan offer Thomas a formal job? Does it even really matter? Thomas has always had Dolan’s ear, that has not changed. Never has, never will. Notice that two guys with ties to Thomas — coach Mike Woodson and GM Glen Grunwald — have positions of power with the Knicks.

Give Thomas a job and the only thing that would change formally is where Thomas gets his medical benefits. Thomas’ voice is already heard in the organization. It’s just a matter of perception and backlash if he were hired.

Thomas is working on his masters degree at Cal Berkley and may just want to do that for a while remaining off the Knicks official books. But don’t doubt his ties to the team.