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Isiah Thomas Moves On To The Next Phase Baby


If you love redemption stories, you gotta love this Easter 2009 tale in which an embattled NBA Executive overcomes likely banishment to basketball purgatory after being dragged through basketball hell on his own wheels.  Instead of being blackballed from basketball for being the nominal steward of one of the Knicks’ worst eras, on and off the court,  in recent memory, Mr. Isiah Thomas starts the process of rebuilding his career and name by taking a head coaching job at the relatively obscure college basketball program of Florida International.

If you love redemption stories, you gotta love that Mr. Thomas ignores the critics who claimed that he would never be able to coach again.  It ain’t none of my business, but I do wonder about that mess surrounding his alleged suicide attempt in which he publicily involved his daughter.  The episode curiously included a publicity seeking Police Chief who , in violation of HIPPA and police department protocol, made public comments regarding Isiah’s role in the events at his home.  I wonder because I am curious as how the suicide attempt is reconciled to this man’s apparent “never-say-die” approach to life.  Is it that even the strongest of us can buckle under the pressure?  Or is it simply that there was no suicide attempt, just an overdose of pills that far too many people take in multitudes in order to fall asleep?  I just wonder.

But what I don’t have to wonder, is that this guy does not give up.  Given that his tenure as a coach of the New York Knicks was an abysmal failure and his stint as an Executive suffered significantly because he overestimated his ability to relate to the priority and pride of his star players, for Mr. Thomas to accept a job at Florida International is impressive.  He clearly understands the value of failure and how it can the necessary skills and lessons needed to move forward towards success.  How well he has learned from this last episode remains to be seen.

What is even more impressive is that he is giving back his salary to the educational institution, especially since he has made a ton of money by traveling arond the country to enjoy college sporting events while earning his money by “not advising” Donnie Walsh according to Walsh.  Some may not see this as a big deal, but it is, especially when you compare it to the money made by preachers from athelete tithing as seen today on ESPN’s “Behind The Lines” 

So Isiah moves on to a new phase in his life.  It is a good move for him, because he is clearly an excellent teacher, particularly for young men of color.  What he gives the youngsters will hopefully make him a better person for himself. And in Florida, unlike New York, he won’t be faced with a media that will claim he brainwashed his players like a modern day Rasputin.  And we won’t be subjected to another MSM comment about Isiah’s wardrobe (which is as dapper as D’Antoni’s unmentioned closet) as though it’s hard to believe a black man could wear a nice suit.

As a Knick Fan, I am glad to see Isiah move on — I wish he had taken Walsh with him, but we’ll deal with that later.   Also as a fan of redemption stories, I am glad that he has humbled, and thereby strengthened, himself enough to start over.   We will see him in the NBA again.  He is smart and he has skills.

April 19, 2009 - Posted by | Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas | ,

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