Monday, December 18, 2006

ISIAH THOMAS: Our Village's Idiot

There was a basketbrawl recently. Multiple players will be "enjoying" spectating due to their spontaneous combustion of stupidity. The current leading scorer in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony, made the most contact and subsequently the most spectating time. Considering the recent edict by David Stern for players to wear suits, it would appear that the NBA can make them dress up, but still not take them out. However, this is not to be a column focused on the moronic actions of people paid too much money to do what countless scores of others would do (albeit at a far less degree of skill) for far less or free.

This is a question to David Stern. Why did you let Thomas off the hook? For those who are unaware of what the hot-seated Knicks coach did to warrant a hook, here it is. Premeditated assault. You're saying, "Wha...? Who would do such a preposterous thing? Certainly not a coach; not a (supposed) authority figure." Alas, it is sadly true.

Now, there is a list of things that one could rest on the former St. Joe's star. Like how when the Bulls finally overcame the Detroit Pistons thuggery to advance to the Finals, Thomas led most of the classless chumps (notable exception being the current Pistons GM) off the floor without well-deserved congratulations for the Bulls. Even better is destruction of the CBA. After ambling along for decades as the then default minor leagues of the NBA, Thomas came in and after promises of grandeur and an increased association with the NBA, managed in relatively short order to destroy the league and all the work the owners had put into it. (The Isiah-less CBA is struggling to stay in existence to this day, says the research dept.) When things got bad, he couldn't jump to the Pacer's head coaching job quick enough, leaving the CBA's remaining owners to attempt rebuilding their life's work. Larry Bird took over the Indiana franchise eventually, and before his name was stenciled on the door he had fired the Indiana University star. So what would Thomas do next? Take his anti-Midas like touch to New York. The Knicks were already not in the best of shape before Thomas brought his Circus of the Craptacular to town. Many wondered what Knicks' ownership was thinking. Now Knick's ownership is wondering what Knick's ownership was thinking. Hired as the GM, Thomas has seen the great Larry Brown Experiment come and go, minus the countless millions Brown got in settlement. Now Thomas is the head coach on the clock. But all of this is just lead up to what should have been a fired-for offense.

In the moments before the brawl, Thomas is reported as having told Anthony to stay out of the paint. If you want to be upset that the leading scorer in the league is still in game with a huge lead and little time to go, fine. Take that up with the opposing coach, after the game, much like a normal adult would do in the same circumstances. Furthermore, if you suspect that your players will be committing actions that could actually hurt other players, it is incumbent upon you as a coach, as an authority figure, even as a human being, to prevent that from happening. Of course, maybe a former "Bad Boy" is clueless as to what the acceptable social morays of society are, but that leads back to the original question to Mr. Stern: Why did you let Thomas off the hook?

Even if he didn't order it directly, his complicity is secured by his own words. Not to mention his lack of action. If in "regular society" you tell somebody not to go into a theater and that building than burns, somebody might at least question why you didn't do more to stop the building from burning. Just because nobody was seriously hurt, this time, doesn't excuse indefensible behavior. David Stern missed a chance to prove that Mark Cuban isn't the only executive he can fine. If you can fine a dress code into existence, and try to change a billionaire owner's habits, he should be brave enough to keep his players safe...especially from the coaches.

Happy ChristmaHannaKwanzadan.
As always, be good.


Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

The research department submits that David Stern DID fine both the Knicks and Nuggets organizations to the tune of $500K, probably in an attempt to place blame for the ambiguity of guilt by coaches.

3:28 PM, December 18, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

So who's the village idiot: Isiah or David Stern? Or both?

3:59 PM, December 18, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Since Thomas hails from our nook of the nation, he is, unfortunately, our village's idiot. David Stern is applying for idiot-at-large status.

Fining both clubs does nothing special to the KNICKS's head coach, because unless it was blatantly unreported, George Karl never told Marbury to stay out of the paint. No matter who would have paid extra to see that happen. Special stupidity deserves a special fine. Let Smiley pay for his idiocy.

11:56 PM, December 18, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

I understood the reference in the post's title, and while the post seemed to talk about Thomas's mistakes, the tone was more toward the commish's idiocity in not punishing Zeke, hence the question.

Who's really the idiot? Isiah for his thuggery, or Stern for his complacency in retribution?

A closer look says you even brought up Mark Cuban and Stern's ability to fine him but not fine Isiah. So while Isiah has fumbled the ball repeatedly (yes, that is grounds for being an idiot), the real indiscretion is Stern's hesitancy to punish Isiah, especially after the reports that he warned Melo not to venture into the paint. I'm guessing after an investigation, no one (players, coaches, etc.) fessed up to hearing Isiah and his misguided machismo. Sometimes the union will circle the wagon, and the hardest of thugs will have an etiquette about snitching.

Remember, Melo was found in a video taped by a Baltimore (his hometown) gang saying all snitches must die. If he violates the street cred -- and Melo is the most street of the new breed of NBA superstars -- he loses HIS sense of pride. He looks bad. And sometimes a man's pride outweighs any endorsement that comes after the young, informative years.

Isiah, the original thug, born and bred on the west side of Chicago, reacted just as he was brought up to act: dis me, and it's on. Melo, from the same background, responded likewise.

Despite Isiah's age and his time spent living the NBA life, the true idiot in this is, as I postulated, David Stern for not coming down harder on Isiah for his actions.

3:13 AM, December 19, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Ultimately, Stern could end up the biggest idiot of all. What good will fining young players for a dress code (which I have no problem with) do, if the on-court danger borders on needing the wand-wavers after the players are in warm-ups. There is a reason that fans like certain sports. The core fans of the NHL like fighting. The NFL is built on people, predominantly large, angry men, running in to each other repeatedly. The NBA is an indoor sport played by people wearing shorts and tank tops. Even the NHL has had to learn, the hard way, that the masses aren't always enraptured with constant violence. Sure NASCAR's ratings are based in large part on the potential of a crash, but the crash doesn't always happen. Violence, in sports, does not always sell. Hence the decline in boxing's ratings. In the long run, street cred might sell shoes, but good basketball sells corporate suites. Stern rarely does anything that doesn't fit this model, which is why it is so mystifying that he dropped the ball(so to speak) on this one. The best suspicion is that Stern let his nature of coddling former stars overwhelm his sense of league health.

10:15 AM, December 20, 2006  

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