Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Isaiah and Florida International: A Match Made in Hell

Isaiah Thomas is back in business.

Florida International has deemed him the “best man for the job” for their basketball program.

Which would be sort of like making Kelvin Sampson your NCAA compliance officer.

If you don’t know Florida International, it’s a school best known for a bench clearing melee against Miami in football a few years ago.

Here, enjoy the YouTube if you somehow missed this epic bit of joint thuggery…..

I also submit for your enjoyment, the courageous involvement of one A’Mod Ned of FIU. Although he was clearly injured and not available to play that night, he WAS available to crack some skulls! Probably with his crutches!

It’s the sort of bravery that makes, a legend grow over time, you know.

Not unlike the legend of Zeke The Franchise Destroyer!

So let’s review.

Isaiah Thomas was a fantastic college and NBA player. National Championship under Knight at Indiana. Two NBA rings. One of the 50 Greatest players of all time.

Then he retired and all hell broke loose. In fact, pretty much everywhere Zeke went, the building caught on fire, and he managed to run out the back door before the engines arrived to douse the rubble.

He started in Toronto as a part-owner and EVP of the expansion team. That lasted 4 years, when he was forced out. Believe who you want on that one. Not like the Raptors are the Patriots of the NBA, but then again, Isaiah was involved.

Then he took the CBA down in stunning fashion. He bought it for $5 million, then refused an offer for $11 million from the NBA to make it the “official” minor league of the NBA. Well done. Conspiracy theorists say Isaiah was merely a tool of David Stern to clear the decks for the NBA’s own D-League.

Neither plain incompetence or Stern’s long evil hand on that would surprise me. I call it a push.

He did alright with the Pacers as coach, but took the team nowhere far in the post-season. The Pacers glory years came later under Rick Carlisle.

Then, there was the Knicks.

Good …. Gawd!

The bad moves came in flurries. Fired coaches, bloated contracts, malcontent players. Overpay Larry Brown. Clash with Larry Brown. Fire Larry Brown. Dispute his payout. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Then Isaiah said “move over, let me try coaching.”

That didn’t work out so well either.

Meanwhile, he was sexually harassing employees, and turning a blind eye to other player shenanigans with the Knicks City Dancers. He also reportedly said he “didn’t care about those fucking white people.”

He meant, season ticket holders. Nice.

Instead of settling the embarrassing lawsuit out of court, Isaiah fought it defiantly in court.

And got his ass handed to him.

Finally, when it was all said and done, Isiaha had one last dirt bag moment when he overdosed on something, passed out at home, then lied to the press about what had gone down, concocted a story, and tried to throw the police under the bus.

And I didn’t even bring up the brief stint as NBA analyst on NBC. Wasn’t very good at that either. But I didn’t want to pile on.

Good luck, FIU! You might want to dial 9-1- and just have your finger over the last “1” on the phone.


  1. Czabe,

    I know of your deep "love" for Indiana (as an ex-Hoosier, I really can't blame you), so I understand why you may be giving Isiah too much credit in your column in his time as the Pacers coach. But all Pacers fans know the glory years ended when Larry Bird left the Pacers and Isiah Thomas was named the replacement coach of that team. The tradition of winning and player respectability ended under Thomas and the ramifications of that still haunt the team today.

    The Pacers went from a team that was in the Eastern conference championships 5 of the last 7 years (appeared in only one NBA finals though the year before "our savior" arrived) to a first-round loser all 3 years they were "lucky" to have Thomas as their coach. Rick Carlisle did bring back some of the winning attitude to the team, but the damage had been done already and many of the fans had lost respect for the franchise and its players.

    Thomas began the era of bringing in the thugs- long gone were the days of Rik Smits, Mark Jackson, Antonio Davis, and other players you could look up to. Stories were showing up in the Indy Star about Thomas driving his Caddy in the middle of the night to help his players out who were involved in legal trouble. He also managed to work with Donnie Walsh to bring in the cancer called Ron Artest that still haunts this team even today. Even Reggie Miller couldn't save the team as longtime fans started pulling away from the franchise.

    Since then, the Indianapolis fans (fickle and fair-weather as they are) have flocked away- many a Pacers fan said they wouldn't spend their money supporting criminals and players you wouldn't want your kids to look up to. The Brawl at the Palace was the final straw for many fans- you were embarrassed to say you were a fan of a bunch of fools. Attendance has crashed- when I lived in Indy, you were lucky to see a Pacers game in person- now I could drive down there, walk up to the ticket window, and buy a good seat on most nights.

    It didn't help the Pacers either that the Colts were becoming a competitive franchise and bringing in respectable individuals like Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy to become leaders in the community. Indy is a Colts town now- the once untouchable Pacers are probably 3rd now behind NFL Football and Indiana basketball. Even if the Colts hadn't won a Super Bowl, the Pacers (and Thomas) had done enough damage to themselves to fall as far as they did.

    Some rumors are floating that the Pacers might be moving to Kansas City soon, and I hope Thomas takes pride in knowing that he had a part in bringing down a once-beloved NBA franchise in the heart of basketball country. The CBA, the New York Knicks, and the Indiana Pacers- genius!!!!

    Tim D.
    Elkhorn, WI

    Note- Isn't it amazing how we give guys from Chicago a chance to do jobs they aren't qualified to do? But it sure looks our nation is headed on the Pacers' and Knicks' tailspin right now.

  2. Czabe, I don't know if you saw this, but Isaih was introduced at the FIU press conference by the provost as Isaih Thompson.


  3. My favorite part of the news releases announcing this move was the Knicks exec who said, "I was really hoping for something like this for him". A great way of saying that he wanted to see Thomas rot without actually saying it.