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How to destroy a team and get rich at the same time

Posted by: Diane Brady on April 18, 2008

Don’t pity Isiah Thomas. The disgraced New York Knicks chief has finally got the boot as coach (he already lost the title of president).

Along with building what New York magazine calls Absolutely, Positively the Worst Team in the History of Professional Sports, Thomas has apparently cost Madison Square Garden and CEO James Dolan $187 million during his four-year tenure. And never mind the stench that still lingers in the minds of those who don’t even care about basketball after his embarrassing testimony in a sexual harassment trial that resulted in the franchise paying out $11.5 million to a former employee.

And what does Thomas get for all this? A chance to remain with the team as a personal adviser to the man who replaced him as president, Donnie Walsh, not to mention his millions in the bank. Harsh punishment, indeed.

Reader Comments

Bruce Temkin

April 20, 2008 11:40 AM

Pity Isiah Thomas? Hardly. I pity the Knicks fans. I write a lot about leadership in my blog (, so it's been amazing to see how long the Madison Square Garden executive group has put up with Thomas. He's been a terrible leader; on and off the court. A great quote on leadership comes from Napoleon: "The role of the leader is to define reality and give hope." Frankly, the best hope that Thomas has given Knicks fans is that he's finally leaving.


April 21, 2008 5:09 PM

Well put. It is fascinating when people manage to linger on the job much longer than is deserved. Contracts likely have something to do with it, not to mention the tendency to be reluctant to admit when you've made an expensive mistake.


April 25, 2008 10:29 AM

It is really unfortunate that Isiah Thomas is now likely to be remembered for his mismanagement of the Knicks and not his unbelievable accomplishments as a player. Isiah Thomas is the greatest "small man" to every play in the NBA leading the Detroit Pistons to two world championships. No other player at his size, not even Allen Iverson, dominated the league like Isiah. This is all very sad.


April 26, 2008 2:33 AM

The Knicks isn't the first team Isiah has ruined (psst, look north of the border), but with his sweet smile and aw shucks personality he'll con some other owner and be in position to ruin another team in no time.

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