It’s difficult to remember, but the Knicks are, in fact, still paying Isiah Thomas, even though he’s famously banned from contacting anyone who plays for them. (Florida International is 4–13, by the way.) One would think that, for the sake of public relations, for the memory of what he did to this historic franchise, the Knicks would have a big sign outside the Garden that says, “Isiah Thomas is a bad person and you should be mean to him because he is a bad person.” But no.
In fact, the Knicks still value Isiah so much that they turned down Magic Johnson’s request for complimentary tickets because he ripped on Isiah in his and Larry Bird’s book, When the Game Was Ours. Witness:
The Daily News has learned that Johnson’s request for comp tickets to a Knicks game last month was rejected due in part to his criticism of Thomas, the team’s former president and head coach, who remains close to Garden chairman James Dolan. The Knicks would neither confirm nor deny that Johnson was told that they wouldn’t provide him with a ticket to the team’s Dec. 7 game against Portland.
A person close to the team says that when the Knicks didn’t respond to Johnson’s request immediately, the Hall of Famer later called the club to let it know that he had made other plans. A league source, however, contends that the club was reluctant to give Johnson a ticket because the Knicks were upset with the former Laker and didn’t want to create a media firestorm at the Garden in the wake of his controversial comments relating to Thomas.
We can certainly understand wanting to avoid “a media firestorm,” though we don’t think anyone who doesn’t work for the Knicks is going to look at Magic Johnson and think of him as “that guy who hates Isiah Thomas.” But if the Knicks are going to make a habit of protecting him against people who hate him, they’re not going to have time to do much else. The guy already cost them $11.6 million in lawsuits and countless dollars more in man hours and wasted payroll. They shouldn’t just give Magic courtside seats; they should let him play (as long as he doesn’t talk).
By the way … anyone else disturbed that Isiah and James Dolan are still friends?