After the fold, I will quote the current Wikipedia entry for Isiah Thomas. It is a pretty amusing piece of work, as this is supposedly written with a “neutral viewpoint.” See for yourself if you think it reads as neutral or not.
On another point, tis’ the season for trade rumors, now that drafted players (like Wilson Chandler) can be traded. Check out this interesting Post article – it seems to me that David Lee is safe, as I think he’s one of the few Knicks that Thomas does not hate right now. Check out his comments about Robinson, Jeffries and Balkman (what the heck is up with Balkman? Gotta be injury, right?) – “Those guys, you got to have energy to be effective. Right now our so-called energy players, with the exception of David, they haven’t been that effective. It’s bad play.”
Okay, here is the Wikipedia piece. I’m copying because I want to show you what it looks like before any edits might be made to it:
/a??ze??/) (born April 30, 1961, in Chicago, Illinois) is a retired American professional basketball player in the NBA, and is currently the head coach and president of basketball operations for the NBA’s New York Knicks. He was also referred to by the nicknames Zeke, Cuts (for the numerous cuts over his eyelids), The Baby-faced Assassin, Coach, The Smiling Assassin, and Tuss. During the NBA’s 50th anniversary, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
* 1 NBA playing career
* 2 Controversy
* 3 Post-NBA career
o 3.1 Toronto Raptors
o 3.2 Broadcasting
o 3.3 CBA
o 3.4 Indiana Pacers
o 3.5 Hall of Fame
o 3.6 New York Knicks
o 3.7 Other
* 4 Sexual harassment lawsuit
* 5 Allegations of Racism
* 6 Career NBA statistics
* 7 References
* 8 External links
NBA playing career
In the 1981 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons chose Thomas and signed him to a steep four-year $1.6 million contract. Thomas made the All-Rookie team after starting for the Eastern Conference in the 1982 All-Star Game.
In the opening round of the 1984 NBA Playoffs, Thomas and the Pistons faced off against Bernard King and the New York Knicks. In the pivotal fifth game, Thomas was having a subpar performance, while Bernard King was having an excellent game. However, in the 4th quarter, Thomas scored 16 points in one minute and 33 seconds to force the game into overtime. King and the Knicks, however, held on to win in overtime.
In the 1985 NBA Playoffs, Thomas and his team went to the conference semi-finals against the 15 time NBA champion Boston Celtics led by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Dennis Johnson. Detroit couldn’t shake the Celtics in their six game series, eventually losing.
In the 1987 NBA Playoffs, Thomas and the Pistons went to the Eastern Conference Finals and faced the now 16-time NBA Championship winning Boston Celtics. It was the farthest the team had advanced since moving from Fort Wayne when they were the Zollner-Pistons. The Pistons were able to tie the Celtics at two games a piece. Detroit’s hopes of winning Game 5 and the series were shattered at the Boston Garden with seconds remaining: Thomas attempted to quickly inbound the ball, Larry Bird stole the inbound pass and passed it to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup.
The Pistons first trip to the Finals saw them face the Los Angeles Lakers, who were led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. During one of the finals games Detroit was hosting, Thomas threw the basketball at Magic Johnson out of frustration. An altercation followed but was broken up and nothing more became of the incident and Detroit prevailed. After taking a 3-2 series lead back to Los Angeles, Detroit appeared poised to win their first NBA title in Game 6.
One of Thomas’ positive self-defining performances came in Game 6. Although he badly twisted his ankle in the game, Thomas continued to play. While hobbling and in obvious pain, Isiah was still able to score 25 points in a single quarter of the contest, an NBA finals record. However, the Lakers won the game 103-102 on a pair of last minute free throws by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar following a foul called on Bill Laimbeer. With Isiah Thomas unable to compete at full strength the Lakers were able to take advantage and narrowly clinched their second consecutive title in Game 7, 108-105.
In the 1988-89 season, Thomas, along with fellow teammates Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn, Vinnie Johnson, Dennis Rodman, James Edwards, John Salley, Bill Laimbeer, and Mark Aguirre, guided his team to a then-franchise record 63-19 record. Detroit played well through the playoffs. With Boston’s injuries still persisting, the Pistons defeated Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Conference Finals, to set up up an NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers. Thomas and the Pistons then won their first of back-to-back championships when they defeated the Lakers in a 4-game sweep. The following year, Thomas was voted NBA Finals Most Valuable Player of the 1990 after averaging 27.6 points per game, 7.0 assists per game, and 5.2 rebounds per game in the series. Thomas tore his Achilles’ tendon in April 1994 and decided to end his career as a player the following month in May.
Thomas, a 6-1, 185-pound point guard, ranks as one of the best players of all-time. He was named to the All-NBA First team three times and is the Pistons’ all-time leader in points, steals, games played and assists. Thomas ranks fourth in NBA history in assists (9,061, 9.3 apg) and ranks ninth in NBA history in steals (1,861). Thomas was known for his dribbling ability as well as his uncanny ability to drive to the basket and score. His number 11 was retired by the Detroit Pistons.
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In the 1985 NBA All-Star Game, Thomas was joined on the Eastern Conference squad by star rookie Michael Jordan. Jordan wound up attempting nine shots, a relatively low number for a starting player. Afterward, Thomas and his fellow veteran East players were accused of having planned to “freeze out” Jordan from their offense by not passing him the ball, supposedly out of jealousy over the attention Jordan was receiving. No player involved has ever confirmed that the “freeze-out” occurred, but the story has been long reported, and neither Jordan nor Thomas has publicly refuted it.
In the Eastern Conference Finals of the 1991 NBA Playoffs, the two-time defending champion Detroit Pistons faced the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls for the fourth consecutive season in the playoffs. The Pistons had defeated the Bulls in each of the first three meetings, but this time they suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls. The series was marked by a number of verbal, physical, and match-up problems. With 7.9 seconds remaining in the fourth game, Thomas and eight of his teammates walked off of the court, refusing to shake hands with the members of the Bulls.
In 1992 Thomas was passed over by the United States men’s national basketball team (popularly known as the Dream Team). Rumors have swirled that Thomas was left off the team because Jordan did not want him as a teammate on account of their bitter rivalry, which had begun with the alleged “freeze-out” and had continued through their playoff battles. Thomas also believed that his place on the Olympic team had been stolen by Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton. An angered Thomas complained publicly, and later vented his frustration by having a high-scoring game against Stockton. The next game they played, on December 14, 1991, Karl Malone elbowed Thomas in the head as he drove to the basket. Thomas needed 40 stitches above his eye to close the wound. Malone was fined and suspended for the incident.
After retiring Thomas became part owner and Executive Vice President for the expansion Toronto Raptors in 1994. In 1998, he left the organization after a dispute with new management which resulted from accusations that he gave NCAA basketball players tickets and other merchandise and inappropriate conduct with team staff. Even though the latter allegation was not thoroughly investigated, it seemed suspicious because of prior instances when Thomas played for the Detroit Pistons. To his credit, over his 4-year tenure with the team, Thomas drafted Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby and high-schooler Tracy McGrady.
After leaving the Raptors, Thomas became a television commentator (first as the lead game analyst with play-by-play man Bob Costas and then as part of the studio team) for NBA on NBC. Thomas’ sometimes clumsy, monotone vocal delivery eventually led NBC to add Bill Walton as a secondary analyst to help compensate for Isiah’s deficiencies as a commentator during game broadcasts. Thomas also worked a three man booth with Costas and Doug Collins.
Thomas became the owner of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) from 1998 to 2000. After his purchase of the CBA, the league was forced into bankruptcy and folded. Many CBA managers blamed Thomas for the league’s failure, citing mismanagement and out-of-control spending on his part. Many such managers publicly declared that Thomas ran the league into the ground, possibly on purpose to eliminate the non-NBA-owned minor league in order to make room for the NBA-owned NBDL. The last paycheck was never paid to many of the teams, such as the Quad City Thunder.
From 2000 to 2003, Thomas coached the Indiana Pacers, succeeding Larry Bird, who previously coached the Pacers to the NBA Eastern Conference title. Thomas attempted to bring up young talents such as Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Al Harrington, and Jeff Foster. Unfortunately Thomas was unable to continue to build on the accomplishments of his predecessor. In his first two seasons with the Pacers, the team was eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets who did happen to go to the NBA Finals in those years.
In his last year with the Pacers, Thomas guided the Pacers to a 48-34 record in the regular season and coached the East squad at the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. The game was also Michael Jordan’s final All-Star game. Thomas was criticized for overplaying Jordan during the game as an attempt to make up for their past feud. As the third seed, the Pacers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the sixth-seed Boston Celtics. With blossoming talents such as Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Al Harrington and Jamaal Tinsley, along with the veteran leadership of Reggie Miller, the perception existed that the Pacers’ unfulfilled potential stemmed from Isiah Thomas’ inexperience as a coach. In the off-season, Larry Bird returned to the Pacers as President of Basketball Operations, and his first act was to replace Thomas with Rick Carlisle. Indiana went to the NBA Finals in 2000 when Bird was coaching. His decision may have been influenced by Thomas not being able to sustain the team as a title contender after his departure.
Hall of Fame
In 2000, Thomas was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, in his initial year of eligibility.
New York Knicks
On December 22, 2003, the New York Knicks hired Thomas to be president of basketball operations. He immediately changed the face of the franchise by trading for a number of high-priced stars. However, despite a very high payroll, the team performed poorly, finishing last in the Atlantic Division in 2005. To address this, Thomas has made even more trades, sometimes cutting or trading away players he had paid a high price for in trades.
Thomas has been largely unsuccessful with the Knicks roster and fanbase so far. At the end of the 2005-06 season, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the NBA, yet earned the second-worst record in the NBA, and traded away several future draft picks, including the number 2 overall pick in 2006. To make matters worse, the 2005 signing of career backup Jerome James to a 5-year $30 million free-agent contract was seen as a questionable move, even more so as he averaged only 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 22 games.
On June 22, 2006, the New York Knicks fired coach Larry Brown, and Thomas replaced him. Team owner James Dolan said that he would give Thomas one year to turn around the Knicks and make them a better franchise or he would be fired.
On December 16, 2006, his team became embroiled in a vicious brawl with the Denver Nuggets, which Thomas was alleged to instigate by ordering his players to commit a hard foul in the paint. He received no fine nor suspension; NBA Commissioner David Stern was quoted as relying only on “definitive information” when handing out punishments.
On March 12, 2007, the New York Knicks re-signed Thomas to an undisclosed “multi year” contract 9 months after Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan forewarned Thomas that the Knicks needed to show “evident progress” or he’d be out of a job. After Thomas was granted the extension, the Knicks abruptly fell from playoff contention with a dismal finish to the season.
On April 3, 2007 Thomas was fined for insulting the officials and saying that Stephon Marbury doesn’t get the same respect as any other player in the NBA.
Thomas traded away multiple lottery first round picks, including a first rounder in the 2007 NBA Draft to Chicago in a deal for Eddy Curry. The result of the draft lottery was that the traded pick ended up being the ninth overall pick in a widely regarded talent-rich draft. As part of the trade, the Knicks got the Bulls’ 2007 first-round pick, which ended up being #23 overall.
On Draft Day 2007, Thomas made another trade by acquiring Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau from the Portland Trail Blazers for Steve Francis and Channing Frye.
Thomas, a self-proclaimed fan of popcorn who has served as the official spokesperson for National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, is a partner in the New York-based gourmet-popcorn chain Dale and Thomas Popcorn. It was known as “Popcorn, Indiana”, prior to his investment. The company currently has seven stores, plus online and mail-order operations.
Thomas also appeared in the noted basketball documentary Hoop Dreams, and in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Thomas had donated money to 2000 presidential election campaigns of Democratic Party candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
Sexual harassment lawsuit
On January 24, 2006, Thomas and Madison Square Garden were sued for sexual harassment and retaliation by Anucha Browne Sanders. The matter came to trial in September of 2007 and Thomas was determined to have made demeaning statements to Sanders, as well as making sexual advances and repeatedly telling her that he was in love with her. Madison Square Garden was ordered to pay Browne Sanders $11.6 million, one of the largest sexual harassment judgments in history.
“I’m innocent, I’m very innocent, and I did not do the things she has accused me in this courtroom of doing.” Thomas said after the decision, “I’m extremely disappointed that the jury did not see the facts in this case.” In all fairness, Thomas admitted under oath that he did in fact call Sanders a “bitch”. Thomas also deemed it appropriate to exchange hugs and kisses with co-workers in his testimony.
Allegations of Racism
Isiah Thomas has been accused of making racist or racial remarks. In his sexual harassment trial Anucha Browne-Sanders testified that Thomas had told her, he did not care about these “[expletive] white people” or these “[expletive] season ticket holders.” Thomas did deny these allegations. Also after a heated 1987 playoff game against the Boston Celtics Thomas said “if Larry Bird was a black guy, he would just be another good guy.” 
Career NBA statistics
* Games played: 979
* Games started: 971
* Minutes per game: 36.3
* Points scored: 18,822
* Assists: 9,061
* Rebounds: 3,478
* Steals: 1,861
* Points per game: 19.2
* Assists per game: 9.3
* Rebounds per game: 3.6
* Steals per game: 1.9
* Field goal percentage: .452
* Free throw percentage: .759
* Three-point percentage: .290