Yesterday morning, John Schuhmann of NBA.com tweeted “Holy smokes. Knicks announce that Donnie Walsh is out as team president.” What followed was a cascade of incredulity as basketball fans wondered how James Dolan could be so stupid. Walsh is a quality guy who knows how to get business done in the NBA, has undone a huge mess in New York, and returned the Knicks to respectability. To ditch him because you didn’t want to give him full control and you wanted to cut his salary almost in half is asinine.
Almost immediately, the Isiah Thomas jokes started. You couldn’t come within five feet of basketball-related content without someone making a snide Zeke comment. But they were all just jokes, right?
Just hours after Donnie Walsh announced he was stepping down as Knicks‘ president, Isiah Thomas uttered the words that all Knicks fans fear:
“Never say never about anything,” Thomas said on ESPN‘s “SportsCenter” Friday night when asked what he would do if Knicks owner James Dolan were to call him about replacing Walsh. “All my doors are open.”
I’m going to give you Knicks fans a moment to recover from that.
I wonder how the Florida International University Athletic Department feels about their head coach saying “all my doors are open.” This is a guy who is supposed to be out recruiting. He’s supposed to be looking at his 18-44 record at FIU and trying to figure out how to fix the program. He’s NOT supposed to be meddling in NBA affairs and openly courting Dolan while still getting paid by the school.
But that’s the kind of scum he his. He’s the type of scum that belongs in the Star Wars cantina (where you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy). But somehow, he’s still in Dolan’s good graces. Everyone else can see through Zeke’s facade, but Dolan can’t.
Knicks fans don’t want him back. In a Daily News poll (also in the link where that quote is from), 59% of respondents said they’d ditch the Knicks if Zeke came back. 22% said they’d protest. Hiring Thomas would be a PR nightmare. It would summon the demons of his past and force Knicks fans to re-live bad contracts and a sexual harassment trial. It would be, probably, the worst possible move Dolan could make at a pivotal time for his franchise.
I’m sure we’d all be happy to have the name Isiah Thomas go away. Maybe the folks at Florida International should take a good hard look at what’s going on here and make Zeke go away too.