Isiah Thomas, with his biggest ticket Knicks’ acquisition, Stephon Marbury (above).
Thomas and the former apple of his eye, Anucha Browne Sanders, whom he sexually harrassed.
On Friday, October 24th, 2008, Isiah Thomas overdosed on sleeping pills, and then promptly tried to blame the incident on his daughter, despite ample facts to the contrary.
Police were reportedly sent to the home of former New York Knicks head coach and president Isiah Thomas early Friday morning in response to a call that Thomas had overdosed on sleeping pills.WCBSTV in New York reported Friday afternoon on the overdose. The television station said that Thomas was rushed to a White Plains Hospital for treatment, but his condition is not yet known.
The Chief of Police in Harrison N.Y. blasted former NBA star and New York Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas for using his daughter to “cover up” his accidental overdose according to the New York Daily News.
Harrison Police Chief David Hall said the former NBA great was throwing his 17-year-old daughter “under the bus” by claiming she was the one rushed to the hospital Friday, not him.
“My cops … know the difference between a 47-year-old black male and a young black female,” Hall told The Associated Press. “It wasn’t his daughter – and why they’re throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand.”
Why would Isiah throw his daughter “under the bus” like that? Why would Isiah practice a consistent policy of sexual harrassment in the offices of MSG? And why would Garden owner James Dolan, made to pay Anucha Browne Sanders, the woman whom Thomas harrassed, $ 11.5 M, bring a guy like Thomas back, after the guy has hurt his wallet, embarrassed the franchise and nearly ruined it, and who threw his own daughter under the bus?
Because Dolan doesn’t care, though the NBA does.
The NBA, which started an investigation of the arrangement Monday, prohibits people who coach or work for a team at the collegiate level, or work for an international team, and who have regular contact with underclassmen or other draft-ineligible players, from also working for one of the league’s 30 teams.
“This arrangement runs right in the direction of that illegality,” said one Eastern Conference team president, requesting anonymity. “We have very distinct rules on this because, obviously, it could mean a team would have an unfair advantage over everyone else when it comes to having contact with a player who is not ready for the NBA.”
Sometimes, if there is a looser connection, the league will grudgingly allow for the arrangement. But Thomas’ high-profile job as a Division I head coach is seen by several GMs as a cut-and-dried case of breaking the rules.
Wouldn’t it be ironic though if the NBA invalidates Thomas’ consultantship, only for Dolan to go over Donnie Walsh’s head and hire Thomas as Walsh’s heir apparent?
Dolan, the Garden chairman, wants Thomas to come back and again be in charge of the team – he tried to make Walsh hire him as GM two weeks ago – so if the league rejects Thomas as a consultant, it could speed his return.
He then could leave FIU for the Knicks, and that likely would result in Walsh stepping down, which he considered doing when he rejected Dolan’s suggestion to hire Thomas as general manager.
Even if the NBA rejects the arrangement and he stays at FIU, Thomas would still enjoy the direct pipeline he’s had to Dolan ever since leaving the organization in disgrace.
Here’s our take. Dolan was less embarrassed by the sexual harrassment and by Thomas running the Knicks into the ground, than by the perception that the league and the media forced Dolan’s hand in firing Thomas, who Dolan has always been smitten with. Dolan played nice when David Stern publicly endorsed Walsh and a short list of other candidates as possible Thomas’ replacements.
Dolan hired the preferred choice of David Stern, who has been pushing Dolan hard for months now. Stern pushed him into dropping an appeal and settling Anucha Browne Sanders’ sexual harassment suit for $11.5 million. Stern pushed Walsh on Dolan, too. This hire delivers a dose of credibility to the Knicks’ bottomed-out operation, goodwill to a city of basketball writers who’ve always been partial to Walsh’s goodwill and Bronx charm.
Well, how far and for how long could David Stern push a billionaire brat like Dolan? Dolan probably sat quietly for Stern’s choice Walsh, and for all the guys that Walsh brought in. Dolan probably bought into the hype surrounding this year’s free agent class, and probably thought that if the Knicks landed Lebron, then being shamed by Stern into hiring Walsh would be worth it, even if the league and the media did correctly paint Dolan as the dumbest man in sports.
But when Lebron had announced that he was announcing his decision on ESPN, and the Knicks well paid basketball hierarchy didn’t have enough juice to even get James on the phone–a clear sign that James had not chosen New York–all bets were off. That night, Dolan dispatched Thomas to Akron, and Isiah does have enough juice to get in a room with Lebron’s lesser lackeys, who heard one last desperate pitch from Dolan through Isiah. That may be the best thing that Thomas has going for him in Dolan’s eyes–a connection to urban athletes that the Knicks’ white brass lacks. No matter to Dolan that Thomas had a 7-25 record in his first year as the steward of young urban athletes at FIU.
Dolan may as well have made Thomas the General Manager at that moment. The Knicks may have whiffed on free agency’s big 3, and they may not be a playoff team, but at least a lot of their image problems had been cured, and their position for the future looked better still.
As of right now though, the Knicks’ future looks a lot like the past they have been carefully distancing themselves from, and with good reason. This Isiah consultantship is right up there with Dolan’s greatest accomplishments–keeping the Yankees off cable TV for over a year, and scuttling the Jets’ bid for a West Side stadium.
I’d look for Donnie Walsh to quit, but I don’t think he wants to resign from a job when he has a $ 4 + M/year paycheck coming. As team president, if he stays on, Walsh would have final say on personnel and coaching moves, and could insulate the Knicks from Isiah’s bad judgment, if Dolan forces Thomas down Walsh’s throat and names him General Manager. But Walsh has only one year left on his contract, guaranteed, and if Dolan really wants him out, he’ll happily pull the plug and write Walsh a check for the remainder of his pact, if he doesn’t step down.
Mr. Stern? It was a nice try, but we are probably well beyond the spectre of your assistance here at MSG.