The Isiah Thomas Show

2 05 2009

I really don’t think our society properly values what Isiah Thomas brings to the table. He has an incredibly interesting resume. Let’s take a look:

– Led Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers to the 1981 NCAA championship.

– Helped lead a “freeze out” of Michael Jordan — then a rookie — in the 1985 NBA All-Star game.

– Led the Detroit Pistons to two NBA titles in 1989 and ’90, including that 25-point fourth quarter on a sprained ankle in the ’89 Finals that is among the sports’ best efforts by an injured player.

– Organized a Pistons walk-off in the 1991 Playoffs where the Pistons refused to shake hands with the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls after getting swept in four games.

– Left off 1992 Olympic Dream Team after Jordan reportedly stated his desire for a Thomas-less squad.

– Became the first general manager of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, drafting Damon Stoudemire, Marcus Camby and Tracy McGrady in his first few years.

– Became commissioner of the CBA in 1998, and promptly ran the league into the ground. (this article explains it all)

– Massively underachieved as head coach of some very talented Indiana Pacers squads from 2000-03.

– Ran the show as General Manager and Head Coach of the Knicks, from 2003-08. A few highlights: Followed through on his desire to reshuffle a roster full of overpaid, underachieving players by trading for and signing an entirely new crop of overpaid and underachieving players; Targeted in $11 million lawsuit against the organization by a woman in the Knicks marketing department who claimed sexual and verbal harassment by Thomas; Coached poorly enough to inspire fans to hold a ‘Fire Isiah’ rally outside Madison Square Garden.

– Took a job for “free” as head coach of Florida International University this year. (He’s donating his salary to charity.)

Unfortunately for Isiah, his propensity for mismanagement has overshadowed his exceptional playing career. This leads me to an idea that would show just how inept Thomas is when it comes to running the show, highlighting his tenures with the CBA and the Knicks: A reality television show with Thomas operating a random business each week to see how far he can sink it into oblivion. 

(For the benefit of full disclosure, I absolutely deplore reality television — for the most part. I can get sucked into Survivorman at any moment, I’ve developed a hankering for Mantracker and I used to be immersed in Real World/Road Rules Challenge before I figured out everyone on the show was in their 20s  and 30s and did nothing else with their lives except compete on an MTV reality show.)

This would meld Thomas’ impressive ability to alienate people, his lack of instincts for spending money in the appropriate places, and his utterly terrible decision-making ability — he makes Michael Scott look like JFK — into one gut-wrenching, face-twisting show of business failure. It’s perfect for him.

I say we give Isiah one business each week — a Dairy Queen store, an automotive repair shop, a dive bar, etc. — and the cameras follow him for a month as he makes decision after decision, from budget priorities to advertising possibilities to customer interactions. (I feel like a month is long enough for someone to have a meaningful influence on a business. Any shorter amount of time feels like it wouldn’t have much of an effect.) You could even have the employees sit in a Real World-style booth and discuss, complain, fret about Isiah’s managerial style.

Isiah would have to be mic’d up at all times. His phone conversations would be recorded. Even his lunch decisions could be dissected. Just for comedy’s sake, I might be willing to let Isiah walk around with a whistle and deliver “fouls” for any employee who screws up. We could let him order pushups, situps and laps around the building as punishment. That might seem ridiculous, but at this point in the show anything should be acceptable. I mean, we would have Isiah Thomas running a freaking business! 

During and at the conclusion of each show a panel of three or four judges, all of whom have some sort of business leadership experience, grade Isiah on a variety of factors that they determine to be important. They sit at a long table, sort of like the one that the prison board from Shawshank Redemption sat at when Morgan Freeman got his release from jail. Isiah would sit in a chair clearly too big for his body, hopefully making him squirm as he listened to the panel. Ideally, he would sit in a dunk tank and the judges would throw a ball at the lever for every gaffe he made, but we got to have some legitimacy to the program.

This show would run for eight to 10 episodes, whereafter the business that is determined to have suffered the most from Isiah’s mismanagement is rewarded with a slew of “professionals” who help bring the business back to what it once was. As for the fate of the other businesses, well, they should lick their wounds. After all, it’d serve them right for letting Isiah run the show.

Now you tell me something: What reason would you have for not watching this show? I clearly would look forward to it each week. Every upcoming episode would be set to record on my DVR.

Many people love watching The Office because it glorifies office culture, something with which nearly all of us are familiar. We get a kick out of watching Scott, along with corporate management and a rag-tag team of incapable workers, somehow keep a presumably sunken business running. Well, now’s our chance to watch an equally unqualified idiot sink an actual business. And we all get to laugh at him! All that’s left to be decided is a name — The Isiah Thomas Show might not do it justice. What are your thoughts?




2 responses

6 05 2009

Dude, if you could get Isiah to agree to this you’d be a millionaire.

I’d watch.

Also, reading this made my head hurt. You know, because of the Knicks and all.

16 11 2009
Bill Simmons stole my idea «

[…] Posts The Isiah Thomas Showmiranda_kerr_wallpaper_1280_4 […]

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