Less than a month ago, former Knicks president/head coach Isiah Thomas — presumably employed by FIU to do something besides make thoroughly insane public statements — openly fantasized about riding on a Knicks championship parade float someday. Weeks later, proving to be the worst self-editor this side of The Widow Cobain, Thomas tells the Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Morrissey, “If there’s a person in America that has lived through the hell I had to grow up in and they’re still living, they should be smiling, too.” Yes, but then you’d remind such a person how much they paid Eddy Curry and Jerome James and unless they were totally fucking nuts, they’d stop smiling.
He does not like the beating his reputation has taken over what he simply refers to as ”the trial.” His struggles as the Knicks’ president and coach were nothing compared with the controversy tied to a 2007 sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders (above) against Thomas and Madison Square Garden.
”I couldn’t believe I was in the courtroom after everything I had gone through on the West Side — never having been in a courtroom there, escaping that sort of thing — and that at the zenith of your career, you find yourself in the courtroom,” he said. ”It was awful for me. It was awful for our family. It was awful for my wife and kids.”
To this day, Thomas steadfastly maintains his innocence and finds comfort in the fact that he wasn’t ordered to pay a dime toward the jury award. Others have called that semantics.
”The jury, I believe, found Madison Square Garden had a hostile work environment and that she was wrongfully terminated,” he said. ”Basically, the Garden and [Knicks owner] Jim Dolan were ordered to pay $11 million, and everyone else was found liable for contributing to a hostile work environment. I wasn’t ordered to pay anything.”
A year later, as if he needed another layer of darkness, he had to be taken to the hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills. It was not a suicide attempt, he said, but a response to stress. His daughter had been hospitalized hours before for an undisclosed medical issue. He had lost his Knicks job titles months earlier.
”I wanted to go to sleep, period,” he said. ”If anybody can’t understand the things that I was going through, where I was having a hard time sleeping, tell them to go through it and get a good night’s sleep. The intention wasn’t to do harm to myself. The intention was to get that day over and wake up the next day.”