Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden. Thomas has been hired to be president of the New York Liberty of the WNBA. Thomas also will have an ownership stake in the team. Garden CEO James Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Liberty and is an unflinchingly loyal Thomas supporter, said he began discussing the role with Thomas in the fall and he has been pleased with the results. “Now, we’ve agreed that it is time for him to take a lead role with the team as president, and through his ownership interest. He’s an excellent judge of talent, and I’m confident that he will put all of his energy and experience into making the Liberty a perennially competitive and successful team,” Dolan said in a statement.
September 20, 2017 | 6:15 am EDT Update
“That was just me being a total (expletive) idiot. I own up to it. I want to move on from it. It probably hit me probably harder than what everybody (thought). Everybody else was telling me to relax, to snap out of it, but I was really, really upset with myself more than anything. It’s not the fact that people were talking about me, because I deserve that, but I’m just more upset with myself that I let myself go that far, you know what I was saying? It was a joke to me at first. I was doing it all summer, and it went too deep. I went too hard… I haven’t slept in two days, two nights. I haven’t ate. It’s crazy, because I feel so (expletive) pissed at myself and I’m mad that I brought someone into it.”
To hear his associates and family reflect on the situation is to understand how serious he takes it, too. In terms of stressful moments in his career, they say, there’s the 2012 Finals loss to the Miami Heat, the agony of his free agency decision last summer, and this.
“I look at my life as like a big playground streetball game, because I play in the NBA and I try to – when I think about playing in the NBA, that’s how small I try to make it, so I can control it and so I can really feel the joy of playing basketball,” he explained. “It’s just another way of me talking trash. Like I said, I took it too far, and I regret talking about Billy and the Thunder. It’s just stupid of me. I feel so bad about this (expletive), because I don’t never want to affect anybody else with what I say.”
“I was at home (in his Oakland Hills home),” Durant said. “I fell asleep watching football. I woke up, had charged my phone, and I just happened to look on Twitter. And I see (the person’s comment that sparked his response), and I just don’t remember it. I remember what I said and how I said it, but I just forget everything else. I forgot everything else. I was only focused on that convo, and that was unfortunate. I look like an idiot. My peers are going to look at me like an idiot. All the jokes – bring ‘em. I deserve it. “The second I realized what I did, I felt like (expletive). Like I said, I look at that stuff as a joke and a big game. Sometimes when I’m in it, I take it too far and I’m in it too much, too deep. But it’s just out of sight, out of mind. I won’t fall into that problem again. I definitely have to move on and not worry about anybody on Twitter, even though it’s fun, you know what I mean?”
Roberson said all the team can do it worry about itself — even if he admitted Durant’s tweets more than a year after his departure from Oklahoma City in free agency are kind of annoying. “I mean, it’s only gonna keep being relevant the more we talk about it, so I just don’t like to touch on it,” Roberson said. “Can’t control it. We control what we do over here in our organization. “I just leave it alone and it is what it is.”
Take this story about the days after Durant decided to sign with the Warriors, a time when he was feeling the full brunt of the Internet’s fury about his perceived betrayal of Oklahoma. He and Kleiman were in China for a weeklong tour of the country sponsored by Nike Basketball, and the flak he was taking from people in Oklahoma City who had once professed deep affection for him was overwhelming. “To have so many people just say, ‘Fuck you,’ that really does it to you,” Durant tells me, still clearly anguished. “Because I truly had invested everything I had into the people I played for…. And for those people that I know and love and trust to turn their back on me after I was fully invested in them, it was just…more than I could take. I was upset.”