Isiah Thomas

From Academic Kids

Isiah Lord Thomas III (born April 30, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American former professional basketball player and coach, and is currently the president of basketball operations for the NBA's New York Knicks. His name is spelled "Isiah" but pronounced the same as the more common "Isaiah". He also goes by the nickname "Zeke".

Contents

College and Olympic Career

Thomas played for Indiana University and was named to the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, although the U.S. boycotted that year's games in Moscow in protest of the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. He left Indiana University for the National Basketball Association in 1981, after a sophomore year in which he led the Hoosiers to the NCAA national title; he earned a bachelor's degree from IU several years later.

NBA Career - As A Player

From 1981 to 1994 Thomas had a stellar career as a point guard with the Detroit Pistons. He was a 12-time NBA All-Star, and is the Pistons' all-time leader in both points and assists. He led the Pistons to NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, and was voted NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1990. He once scored 16 points in 93 seconds in the 1984 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks.

Post NBA Career

After retirement Thomas was part owner and Executive Vice President for the expansion Toronto Raptors from 1994 to 1998, but left the organization after a dispute with new management. 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 NBC. Thomas became the owner of the Continental Basketball Association from 1998 to 2000. From 2000 to 2003 he coached the Indiana Pacers. In 2001, Isiah Thomas was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was given the job of president of basketball operations by the New York Knicks, immediately changing the face of the franchise by trading for star point guard Stephon Marbury, the promising small forward Tim Thomas and emerging shooting guard Jamal Crawford.

However, the plan misfired with disastrous results, resulting in an highly overpaid team without chemistry which missed the playoffs by finishing last in the Atlantic Division.

Career Highlights

One of Thomas's best known and most self-defining performances came in an NBA Finals game against the Los Angeles Lakers. 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 26 points in a single quarter of that contest, a NBA Finals record. He will also be remembered for how his Detroit Pistons refused to shake hands with the Chicago Bulls team that finally beat the defending champion Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals in 1991. Rumors would surface that this rivalry between Thomas and Michael Jordan would trigger Thomas's exclusion from the 1992 Dream Team Olympic basketball team that would go on to win the gold medal in Barcelona, Spain. Fans of the Boston Celtics also remember him for his inbound pass stolen by Larry Bird in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals that decided the game and ultimately the series in favor of the Celtics.

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