Isiah Thomas Rumors
In the past decade or so, the NBA has had two prominent opportunities to address the issue of sexual harassment in its workplaces. Both times the league fumbled badly, so that when, this week, Sports Illustrated published a damning portrait of the culture of workplace harassment within the Mavericks office, there should have been little surprise. Both instances involve the Knicks and their handling of the lawsuit brought in 2007 against the team by former executive Anucha Browne Sanders. The league, under commissioner David Stern, offered no punishment of the Knicks or coach and team president Isiah Thomas at that time. The NBA ignored the issue again after Knicks owner James Dolan and Thomas spoke out on the subject in 2015 when the Knicks rehired Thomas to oversee the WNBA’s Liberty franchise. That happened under Adam Silver’s watch. As New York employment attorney Kevin Mintzer, one of Browne Sanders’ lawyers, sees it, the NBA is now reaping what it has sown.
“I am not surprised,” said Mintzer (who does not speak for Browne) of the Mavs’ situation. “As we’ve seen throughout industries, this is an issue that is still pervasive, everywhere. I am particularly not surprised that it is a problem in the NBA given the nonexistent reaction that the NBA had to Anucha’s case back in 2007 and 2008 when it happened, and a few years ago when Mr. Dolan and Mr. Thomas were on TV saying slanderous things about my client eight years after the fact.”
But the fact is, the NBA sent a message back in 2007 when the Browne Sanders lawsuit against the Knicks was originally filed and no punishment was doled out by Stern. That message: This is not our business, and we won’t hand out punishment for it. Silver backed up that message after the 2015 James Dolan- Isiah Thomas interviews on HBO. And here we are. “The message should be that these events — despite what you have allowed, what you have indulged, what you have turned your head away from in the past — OK, clearly it is not going to fly,” Mintzer said. “If you purport to be a progressive league and you purport to have values in which you care about injustice to people’s color and women, but you allow workplaces like this to fester and do nothing when something is shown to be seriously wrong, then no one will take you seriously. “The only time they’ll do something is when there is public pressure to do something. My expectation is Mr. Silver will get religion on this only when he feels he has to.”
“When you’re a young man, in your 20s, you can build. But when you’re in late, mid-late 30s, then you gotta join,” Thomas said. “What he’s gotta do is look at a place where he can go fit and join. And Kevin Durant is somebody that you can ride with,” Thomas continued.
Only six players have been named to five All-Star teams before age 25 (Kevin Garnett would’ve made it seven, if not for the 1999 lockout). The other five — Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — are either in the Hall of Fame or will be first-ballot inductees once eligible. But what those other players have on their resumes — playoff success and championship rings — is something Davis is eager to add. Cousins’ presence wasn’t going to carry the Pelicans to be a contender, but he possibly would’ve helped Davis do better than the first-round sweep he encountered in 2015. Without him, the challenge of simply getting into the postseason — even with the Western Conference a little wobblier than usual after Golden State and Houston — is that much greater. “We’re trying to find our groove again. A lot of guys are playing out of position. I’m playing a lot more five now. We’re asking a lot from everybody and we just have to step up as a team and find a way to win,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I just tell them, ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Keep believing in each other. Right now is not the time to separate. We’ve got to stay together.’ We’ve got a lot of games left. Nobody is really taking off, fourth [seed] through 10th. We’re going to always stay in the fight, as long as we keep giving ourselves a chance. We’ve got to play hard and keep having fun.”
“[After the game,] it was just common knowledge that whenever you talked about the anthem, everybody just pointed to it like, ‘Yeah, that was the best one that was ever done.’ Not because his techniques were good — they were — but because spiritually, in that moment, he really captured the feelings of everyone in The Forum. I’ve never been part of an anthem where everybody’s just in unison and lost control and just started moving. It was a beautiful moment.” — Isiah Thomas