On Tuesday, the WNBA’s New York Liberty announced the appointment of Isiah Thomas as their new team president. Thomas, as you probably recall, is no stranger to the MSG boardrooms via his miserable tenures as Knicks president and head coach, not to mention the thorny matter of Anucha Browne Sanders’ sexual harassment allegations. Despite having to pay nearly $12 million to Sanders, James Dolan’s underachieving franchise issued a statement yesterday claiming the Sanders jury “acted improperly”, claiming the charges were “completely unrelated” to Thomas, which is pretty amazing revisionist history. In the view of the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, Thomas’ hiring is worthy of review by the WNBA Board Of Governors (“the only explanation is that Dolan is a tone-deaf buffoon who remains hypnotized by Thomas’s greatness as a player and personal affection for him”).
Dolan’s confidence has no grounding in reality. Thomas lasted four years as an executive of the expansion Toronto Raptors. He ran the CBA into bankruptcy. He won 34 percent of his games as coach of the Knicks, left behind a rotten, bloated roster and embarrassed the franchise with the sexual harassment case. In three seasons as Florida International’s head coach, Thomas went 26-65. Based on results he produced, Thomas does not have any idea what he is doing.
“The Madison Square Garden organization announced that Isiah Thomas has been named president of the New York Liberty and that he will take an ownership interest in the team, pending WNBA approval,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said in a statement. “New owners are approved by our WNBA Board of Governors, and this process has not yet begun.”
And so the Board of Governors can still prevent Thomas from taking over. They should. Thomas’s record suggests his presence will damage the league. He should not be in charge of a professional basketball team, which is blatantly obvious to everyone but the man who hired him.