The expression, “inexplicably employed” is not one I’ve used on many prior occasions. I’ve not used it in relation to Dino Costa, David Samson, Luke Winkie, Darren Heitner or Anton Newcombe, even if the thought has crossed my mind a few times. But with all due respect for the myriad atrocities committed by the roster above, none of them would seem to bring nearly the same anti-Midas touch to the workplace as former Knicks President Isiah Thomas.
Thomas’ slow-motion crash in New York nearly overshadowed his exceptional playing career, though luckily for Zeke, relatively few observers paid much attention to his subsequent struggles at Florida International University. That the allegedly charming Thomas is ever under consideration for new gigs (some of which he’s actually hired for) is hard to fathom, or as former CSTB contributor David Roth puts it, “if it makes a certain amount of sense for the NBPA to seek the opinion of a Hall of Famer with a long history in NBA front offices, it makes notably less when that person is Isiah Thomas.” From Roth and SB Nation :
This is a man who, if hired to run a Panera, would be serving wet loaves of bread stuffed with sticks and lit firecrackers within weeks, and charging $11.99 for them. The dining room would be overrun by hostile weasels within hours of opening, and he would give a smiling press conference claiming that the weasels were phase one in some “big changes we’re really excited about.” It would be amusing until someone would get hurt, and someone usually does when he’s involved.
We must presume that the people making decisions for the NBPA know all this, and so can probably assume that Thomas is a long-shot for this gig. There are still people in the NBA who worked for Isiah Thomas, survivors to tell the tale. There is the fresh memory of what he’s like, and what happens to things he runs; anyone can Google “Isiah Thomas Anucha Browne Sanders” and read what pops up. It took Thomas less than three years to utterly destroy the Continental Basketball Association; he ran Madison Square Garden’s executive offices as a grope-y gulag, all paranoia and flubbiness and denial. It’s a matter of record, and it should be enough.