You know, I think I've completely missed on what the true meaning of Isiah Thomas's regime has been to the Knicks. All this time, I thought it was just monumental incompetence, fueled by arrogance and utter, utter cluelessness... and the fact that the media kind of empowered all of this by actually getting excited when he brought in more big-name big-money no-defense players (it didn't work with Marbury... but now they've got Steve Francis! OK, that didn't work, but now they've got Zach Randolph!) was just part of the show.
But when I caught today's post-mortem, I'm not so sure. Check it out (NY Times excerpt).
Thomas apparently had heard enough. Late in the game, he could be seen debating some fans sitting near the court. One of those fans, Mara Altschuler, was so enraged by the discussion that she sought out reporters after the final buzzer.Maybe, just maybe, Isiah is actually a performance artist, and this whole thing is kind of an Andy Kaufman skit gone really, really long. Or a psychological experiment, kind of like a Milgram study, where the test isn't what's going on in the games, but the stands.
“He said it’s the fans’ fault because they don’t have a good sixth man,” said Altschuler, who has season tickets near midcourt. Her family has had the seats for more than 40 years, since the old Garden, she said.
Thomas was evasive when asked about the argument.
“I was just trying to make sure that we kept the team together and we stayed focused on what we were doing, in trying to win a basketball game,” he said. “Our fans are great. They support us and they show up and we’re glad they’re here.”
Asked again if he had argued with the fans, Thomas gave an almost identical response. A team spokesman cut off his postgame interview after only five questions.
Because, um, I can't really tell why you'd think it was advisable to go get into it with the paying (and in NYC, very, very, very highly paying) customers. Especially considering how there probably aren't going to be very many of them relatively soon, and the ones that are there seem to be ready to light you on fire, because they just don't understand the scope of your genius.
Yeah, that's got to be it -- Isiah is actually a very brave, very avant-garde performance artist. The next time you see him, when he's wearing nothing but a beret and slapping himself with meat as part of a greater pastiche of criticism against the factory farm-like nature of the NBA Draft, remember that you read it first on this very blog. I, for one, will be nodding my head slowly, in the affirmative, glad for the opportunity to bear witness to this... this... well, I am but a humble sports blogger. I fear that I do not have the words.
As for yet another home loss, this one to a Mavs team that's just kinda there right now... I didn't quite get it, and will have to study more of the subtext over the weekend. But it is, no doubt, *brave* work. Pray continue, Isiah. Your fearlessness is an inspiration to us all.