Knicks coach Isiah Thomas has admitted he once touched fired team exec Anucha Browne Sanders’ shoulder, and may have even tried to kiss her on the cheek.
The 12-page document categorically denies Browne Sanders’ allegations – including claims that Thomas, who doubles as the Knicks’ general manager, asked her to have sex with him and called her a “f——g bitch.”
But the coach’s lawyers branded her a “disgruntled former employee” who filed the suit to “harm Thomas, whom she blames for her professional difficulties and secure an unwarranted sum of money from Thomas and Madison Square Garden.”
Her “inability to accept the changes that occurred under Thomas’ leadership fueled her antipathy towards Thomas and are reflected by this meritless lawsuit,” the coach’s lawyers said in papers filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
In his only admission, Thomas sought to clarify Browne Sanders’ claim that he once tried to hug her and said: “What? I can’t get any love from you today?”
Thomas now admits he actually “greeted plaintiff by placing his hand on her shoulder and attempting to kiss her on the cheek.”
Thomas’ smooching habits were once legend around the NBA when he was an All-Star point guard for the Detroit Pistons. He made headlines when he planted a wet one on Magic Johnson’s cheek before the two rivals faced down one another in a playoff game.
“Many of the allegations are without any factual support and those that have some semblance of accuracy have been distorted,” Thomas’ defense attorney, Peter Parcher, wrote.
Browne Sanders’ attorney, Kevin Mintzer, declined comment yesterday on Thomas’ papers, which were filed a week after she amended her lawsuit, adding James Dolan, the chairman of MSG’s parent company Cablevision, as a defendant.
She called Dolan “an aider and abettor” of the retaliation she faced when she reported Thomas’ conduct to higherups.
While Thomas’ legal woes — if not the financial malfeasance of James Dolan — continues to be an embarrassment to Knicks fans, I am fairly certain that Zeke has the gratitude, for one day, at least of Paul Lo Duca. If Thomas couldn’t keep Captain Red Ass off the cover of Thursday’s Post, at least the Daily News’ front page lacked for space.