Isiah Thomas and other NBA myths

Perhaps no league is more misunderstood than the National Basketball Association.

So let’s clean up a couple of things:

Myth No. 1: The NBA is full of thugs

Now, there is some precedent for this line of thinking. We all remember the “Malice at the Palace” incident back in 2004.

But think about it. What league has given us the most bad athlete, bad role model type stories?

It’s the NFL, of course.

NBA players, I think, face more scrutiny than their NFL counterparts. My theory as to why is the fact that their faces, hairstyle and body art is on full display 82 times a year while the NFL makes sure that all you ever see of Terrell Owens is his jersey and helmet.

Why do you think removing your helmet on the field and altering the team uniform in any way results in a fine? It’s all about image. The NFL works hard to keep it shiny.

On the surface, anyway.

The NBA has made great strides in this area in recent years. The dress code, I thought, was a bit over the top when it was introduced, but the players seem to have embraced it.

And the current generation of young stars – Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and LeBron James – are all very talented players who also happen to be good role models as well.

The NBA Playoffs are here. Watch them with an open mind. You might just be surprised.

Myth No. 2: Isiah Thomas is a good basketball mind

Florida International hired Thomas, a member of the NBA’s 50th anniversary all-time team, to be its coach recently.

I’m just not sure why.

No one doubts his on-court skills. He was a 12-time all-star and two-time NBA champions with the Detroit Pistons.

But he is a walking General Motors when it comes to managing anything.

He bought the Continental Basketball Association for $5 million in 1998, refused to sell it to the NBA for $11 million two years later and the league went into bankruptcy and folded.

Nice.

His three years as coach of the Indiana Pacers weren’t bad, but he never won a division title or a playoff series in his tenure.

From 2003-2006, he was general manager of the New York Knicks where he produced the league’s highest payroll and one of its worst teams.

He then took the coaching reins and went 56-108 in the next two seasons.

Toss in a sexual harassment lawsuit, which he fought in court and lost to the tune of $11.6 million (MSG’s money, not his), charges of racism and an apparent drug overdose and I have to wonder what he’s done well since hanging up his sneakers.

Maybe he’ll shock us all and turn the Sun Belt on its ear in a positive way.

For a change.

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2 Responses to “Isiah Thomas and other NBA myths”

  1. Flagan Says:

    I agree with what you said but would like to add that the NFL has at least four times more players than the NBA and is inherently a violent sport so it stands to reason they would be involved in more violence off the field.

  2. randycapps Says:

    That’s true, but for some reason it’s the NBA that has the worse reputation in that regard.

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