Thursday, October 19, 2006

Zeke is Losing His Mind...and the Public Reaps All The Benefits.

I think Isiah Thomas might be growing himself a pair of rabbit ears (and those always work out well; nod your head, Tim Couch).

Zeke seems just a little to in tune with what the media have to say about him. Although if you are opening up a sports page in NY, you're gonna see the name Isiah (usually with little helper words attached, like "unmitigated disaster" and "atrocious decision making" and "suicide would be preferable"). And really...he hasn't done too much praisworthy lastely. Seriously, I'm trying to think of something...well, he did bring in Eddy Curry, who no one would touch because he might die at anytime and become this generations Hank Gathers (only medically), so I guess he is charitable. Yea, Isiah ; you're charitable!

Reading the media might not be Zeke's chief concern; repsonding to them might be. Last year, he got into it with Bill Simmons, and now he is calling out Greg Anthony.

Here's a little background.

After Simmons' ripped him - probably more than once; not that you can blame him, really - in his column:

"I'm gonna tell ya ... if I see this guy Bill Simmons, oh, it's gonna be a problem with me and him ..."
Ah, Isiah: proclaiming you're gonna fight members of the press usually turns out well, doesn't it? Lots and lots of upside to that type of declaration, isn't there? But Simmons is kind of an asshole - Isiah isn't the first person to want to punch him in the face - so I guess I can see that.

(For what its worth, Simmons ends his column with this gem: "So either you can e-mail me, have one of your PR people call me to explain it, or tell me as while you're making trouble for me on the street." Ha! Simmons - in the street! I'd love to see Simmons rolling down Rodeo Drive, rocking a mock turtleneck, with a posse of J-Bug and that guy who wore short shorts to Lambeau as Isiah and his posse of Starbury and James Dolan march towards them. Kind of like the worst remake of West Side Story ever.)

But the other day, Isiah just lost his mind over Greg Anthony. Here's some highlights from Marty Burns' article on SI.com:
"This so-called former Knick, on draft night with millions of people watching, had the audacity to take me to task on a player that I'm pretty sure he had never seen before in his life," Thomas said. "But he stands on national television and talks about a kid he has absolutely no idea about. I'm just glad that all of New York doesn't think like Greg Anthony."

Thomas went on to question Anthony's credentials as a TV commentator, and even took a slap at his 12-year NBA playing career.

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

Damn, Zeke - you want to try to be a little bit more of an arrogant, condescending prick? Anthony had the audacity to take you to task? Why not just sit on your throne and bellow "How dare you! How dare you speak before me?!?!" Who the hell are you, sir, to even use the word audacity? I'm pretty sure you are the man who had the audacity to run the CBA into the ground. Yea, AN ENTIRE FLIPPIN' LEAGUE. You had the audacity to take a proud Pacers franchise and barely keep them above .500 for three seasons, only to have them nearly go to the NBA Finals the year after you left. And aren't you the same guy, again, with the audacity to take arguably the poster-franchise of the NBA and make them a national punchline?

I just wanna know what Anthony ever did to Isiah, because he certainly wasn't the only one panning him for the Renaldo pick. If there is someone out there who thinks Balkman was the right pick in that spot, I've yet to hear from him. The Balkman picked even reduced Spike Lee to just throw up his hands and giggle, kind of like how serial killers laugh when you throw a straight jacket on them.

And as far as Zeke's announcement that Anthony should never be in a position to question him because "you remember what type of player he was," well...what the hell does that have to do with anything? Its so well documented that being a good player really has little effect on coaching and front office skills that its not even worth discussing at this point. (Although just for fun: MJ drafted Kwame Brown. We cool? Oh and you assembled this current Knicks team, Zeke. Jus sayin.)

If Isiah thinks Balkman's stat line in his last three preseason games justify the pick, he's out of his mind. The point wasn't that Balkman couldn't play - although that is still up in the air - the point is that he took Balkman way, way too high. No one was gonna take him in the first round, and you could argue no one was gonna take him in the second, either. Isiah spent a first round pick - 20th overall - on a likely undrafted free agent rookie. That's where the confusion came form, Zeke.

Amazingly, though, Isiah just couldn't let poor Greg alone. Here's some more from Marty. (And um, Marty? Might wanna watch your back. You could be next. Just lettin' ya know.)
When asked whether he could see Balkman someday defending LeBron James or Tracy McGrady, Thomas replied, "Wait a minute, hold on now ... you can run him out there but he'll probably get stepped on a little bit ... Unlike Greg Anthony, I do have respect for others."

When asked about the Knicks' dismal season a year ago, and what role all the injuries played, Thomas said, "We all were in a funk last year ... Greg Anthony was in a funk."

Later, when talking about Balkman's ability to handle the ball, a reporter jokingly asked if he had a better handle than Greg Anthony. "Most definitely," Thomas said. "Greg could only go left."

Yikes, Zeke. Calm down, buddy. We get it. You were a better player than Greg Anthony. Everyone knows; everyone remembers. Post retirement, though, and Greg has avoided reference's to the Titanic, the Hindenberg, and a moron. (OK, maybe not the moron part. But the other two, definetly.)

And what the hell does Balkman being able to guard Bron Bron have to do with Isiah having repsect for people? Not only is Isiah starting to ramble, he's going senile, too.

(Yes. Pump fist.)

Before this latest..um, fued (?), I was starting to think the Knicks were going to be OK this year - I mean, they do have a ton of talent on that roster, and from all accounts, Isiah is just going to let them run wild. Pushing the ball relentlessly is really the only way to get any kind of results from that roster. Isiah will probably do better than Larry Brown a year ago, and will feel justified. But the Knicks will never reach the levels of success they could have under Larry with Zeke at the helm. Isiah will be like throwing a cheap band aid on a cut that is just gushing blood - might work today, but ultimately a costly decision.

Isiah's hypersensitivity to the media - and his need to go public with it - are going to be his downfall (well, that and the completely incompatible roster he put together). Every press conference is going to be a bombardment of questions with no real answer and every column is going to skewer him (the "sleeping in the bed you made" reference may be made once or twice, methinks). By the All Star break, he's going to have some kind of public meltdown.

And I'm openly rooting for it.

8 comments so far. Might as well add your own.:

kilcs said...

the way you've completely turned on simmons is crazy. it's like daniel-son hating mr. miyagi in karate kid 3 or something.

did anybody else not know that panning was a verb usable in that sense?

TheNumberZero said...

I was also impressed with panning, here it is from dictionary.com, def. number 11

11. Also, panning. an unfavorable review, critique, or appraisal: The show got one rave and three pans.

Whatev.

Anyway, just ask Isiah how the 92 Olympics were?

Oh wait, he wasnt there, WHAT?!

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