Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sometimes you read stories in the sports world and marvel not only at the injustice of it, but the stupidity that caused it. This article about New York Knicks coach Isaiah Thomas ripping into ESPN analyst (and former Knick) Greg Anthony is one of those stories.

Basically, the article describes how Thomas lashes into Anthony for being critical of his suprise pick of Renaldo Balkman in the most recent draft. There are so many things wrong with the way Thomas handled this, I'm not even sure where to start.

First off, does it appear to anyone else that Thomas is putting way too much energy into what a single reporter thinks? You would think that with the huge amount of responsibility that he currently has - that is, trying to clean up the mess he created for himself with the Knicks, one of the marquee teams in the NBA - screaming back at Anthony months after the fact would be low on the priority list. But then again, Thomas has rarely been logical in the managerial posts he has held in his post-playing career.

Speaking of illogical, the article says that Thomas singled out Anthony because he was a former Knick. So what? Does that mean he should have such an allegiance to the team (one of many that Anthony, a journeyman during his career, played for) that it prevents him from doing his job properly? Don't give me any of this, "He's not a true Knick" crap. That's a weak justification. This isn't Patrick Ewing we're talking about. This is a man who also played with the Vancouver Grizzlies and Portland TrailBlazers for significant portions of his career. He's not the first person who comes to mind when thinking of the Knicks.

In reality, Thomas probably felt stung that a former player, a basketball playing peer, (as opposed to a career journalist, whose opinions he likely doesn't value as much) had the gall to stand up and criticize him. Earth to Isaiah: it's his job to speak up and say what he feels honestly thinks. And to be honest, Anthony does a great job at it. There are some particularly nauseating analysts that cover the NBA for ESPN, (Bill Walton, Steven A. Smith come to mind), but Anthony has become a star among NBA analysts, because he brings a level of insight and professionalism that is noticably above most of his peers, especially at his young age.

My favorite part of the article is when Thomas says, "Greg Anthony should never ever be in a position to question myself on anything about basketball. I do remember the kind of player he was. I'll leave it at that."

You have to be out of your mind to argue against the fact that Thomas was a vastly superior player to Anthony. But for him to make a blanket statement elevating himself to deity status on all issues basketball is absolutely absurd. Thomas doesn't have much to brag about in his post-playing days. It's pretty much been failure after failure for him since then, none more spectacular than his running the Knicks into the ground. Instead of rushing to jump all over Anthony, maybe Thomas should check his ego just a little bit and take a hard look in the mirror. Maybe he'll see what seems to be obvious to the rest of us, that it makes plenty of sense to question him on "anything about baskeball."

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