13 Julio 2017 08:47
After Isaiah Thomas made a cameo appearance on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ his life went downhill
James Dolan seems convinced that it’s better the devil you know… even if the devil might be your worst nightmare.
The New York Knicks owner had enough of the franchise’s dismal performance. He sacked Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations and replaced him with the man who led the worst Knicks team in history: Isaiah Thomas.
At the helm of the Detroit Pistons’ 'Bad Boys', Thomas managed to win two rings on the court; while leading the Knicks from the sidelines, however, his team sank like a very heavy stone. He came into the team as president in 2003 and from 2006 to 2008 juggled this position with that of team coach. Some would say his Knicks team was the worst franchise in the history of professional sport, thanks to a report by The New York Magazine.
The $187 million debt he racked up is largely to blame.
It was indefensible. He squandered $137 million on luxury taxes for payrolls way over the salary cap, $20 million went up in smoke thanks to his defeats, $18.5 million was spent on the deal he signed to sack the former coach Larry Brown, and $11.5 million had to be paid by MSG, the Knicks’ holding company, as compensation for Anucha Browne Sanders, a former executive of the franchise, who was sexually harassed by Thomas.
His difficult relationship with the press and a dressing room filled with personalities that were somewhat hard to manage, like Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry or Zach Randolph, did not help.
However, it has always been suggested that it was one day in particular that changed Thomas’s life. It was 12 November 1990, when in the US an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was aired in which Will Smith dreams of humiliating Thomas in a one-to-one, making the basketball legend look like an amateur.
From that day on, bad luck and professional failures have plagued a man who was once considered one of basketball’s best point guards.
A few months later, his performance was so hampered by injuries that he would never play at the same level again, something that also prevented him from competing in the Barcelona ‘92 Olympic Games with the Dream Team. A decidedly acrimonious relationship with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan was yet another ingredient in this cocktail of misfortune.
His catalogue of injuries featured various ankle sprains and a torn Achilles tendon which ended his career in 1994, at the age of 33.
Ever since that doomed cameo appearance, not only did his career go down the toilet, but every business he took on ended in failure.
A few months after leaving the court he became the Toronto Raptors’ first ever General Manager and owner of a 9% share in a team which played not a single decent season until he sold his stake in 1997.
An investment company led by Thomas then purchased the CBA - at the time, the second biggest basketball league in the US. A year was long enough for the master of disaster to lead it into bankruptcy. He sold the league, now massively in debt, in the summer of 2000, before becoming coach for the Indiana Pacers. The CBA disappeared the following year.
During his three seasons on the Pacers’ bench he never went beyond the first round of the playoffs despite the team having just won the NBA finals while in Larry Bird’s capable hands.
Following his calamitous spell at the Knicks, Thomas narrowly escaped death due to an overdose-induced cardiac arrest. The police had to be called to his home before he was then taken to hospital, where it was discovered that he had accidently taken enough sleeping pills to knock out a herd of elephants.
A life of mishaps and misfortune, ‘courtesy’ of Will Smith and his love of basketball, or so the tale goes.