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View Full Version : Interesting stuff from Vescey. From Isiah's days as Pacers coach



Unclebuck
12-04-2007, 10:16 AM
The last 1/3 of the column is about the Pacers, Isiah and Jamaal. I don't think this ever has been mentioned before. And I cannot believe so few of his teammates went to the funeral.



http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/12042007/sports/knicks/the_untold_story_6054.htm


THE UNTOLD STORY
By PETER VECSEY


December 4, 2007 -- IN theory, Cablevision is a communications conglomerate. Daily we're bombarded with commercials boasting about its capability of putting subscribers in instant touch with the world by phone, TV and the Internet.
Yet the company's decision-makers at Madison Square Garden could not or would not relay a life-and-death message to an employee in the same building Sunday night until he finished his job.

Immediately upon learning Donald Marbury Sr. had suffered chest pains and left the Knicks-Suns game at halftime for the hospital, where he died soon after, those in authority should have apprised Stephon of his already ailing dad's condition.

They flagrantly failed to do so.

Who doesn't find this both incomprehensible and reprehensible?

As usual, Steve Mills and Isiah Thomas had no clue how to deal with a critical situation.

Once again, the Garden president and Knicks president/coach handled things ineptly and inappropriately.

Even if Mills and Thomas were not aware of what had happened to Donald Sr. until the Suns' 11-point victory had been concluded, even if it was the fault of some other dope down their cheesy chain of command (surely someone in security knew an ambulance was called for the 68-year-old), the buck stops at the bosses, starting with Chuck and James Dolan.

Isn't that what Thomas finally owned up to recently? Isn't that what he keeps telling us? That "It's on me!" Well, it is on Thomas, and it's on Mills, and most of all it's on the "May We Offer Our ConDolances."

Together this familiarity of fools has created a contaminated atmosphere at the Garden where irrationality and insensitivity rules, and underlings conduct themselves accordingly, petrified to say or do anything without the expressed consent of Sonny Superior.

What an inexcusable fiasco!

Imagine how we'd feel had our old man, sitting just rows away, required a stretcher and we weren't at once alerted.

Imagine how we'd feel had our employer taken it upon himself to hold back such serious info for whatever obtuse reason.

Imagine how we'd feel had someone denied us possibly a last chance to see and talk to our father while he was still alive.

Reports claim a family member said not to burden Stephon with the emergency. As if the game were more important. The reality is, it wasn't up to Mills or Thomas or any other dimwit down the food chain to keep the plight of Donald Sr. on the down low. This was his father. As soon as Garden personnel knew there was a crisis, Stephon deserved to be the very next person to hear about it; let him decide what to do.

Both Mills and Thomas have lost fathers. They should know better. Whom were they trying to protect, Stephon or the Knicks? Thomas is on the record saying he'd trade his mother to improve the team (i.e., win). At the start of the fourth quarter, the Knicks only trailed the Suns by one.

Am I being way too harsh? Stick around for the column closer and then decide.

Before going there, Mills and Thomas are so over their heads they even mismanaged the postgame information process. With an opportunity to pretend they're a class organization and explain to the media - at Isiah's ritualistic postgame press conference - what had happened, everything was kept a secret for 45 minutes or more.

We're told the Knicks didn't want any members of the Marbury family to first hear about Donald's death on the 11 o'clock news.

Sounds like another one of Thomas' genius thoughts. How long has it been since anybody near a TV isn't also equipped with a cell or conventional phone? Bad news travels fast, especially within a family as supportive and in touch with each other as the Marbury clan.

What Thomas should've done was to inform the media of the tragedy, ask it to respect Marbury's grief/privacy if you see him in the locker room or hallway, and to please restrict questions strictly to the game.

What Thomas should've told the gathering is this: "We know you have a job to do and deadlines to meet, but right now we're a shaken team, our prayers go out to Stephon and his family, but right now you know as much as we do about this."

Instead Thomas left everybody wondering why he refused to discuss the first few minutes of the fourth quarter when the game got away from the Knicks. Is that when Marbury "actually" found out his father had left? Did he hear it from Thomas or a family friend?

Either way, if indeed that happened, you'd think Thomas would've been sufficiently concerned about his player's head and heart to get him out of the game and on his way to the hospital. But after all the craziness and unanswered questions that continue to surround Marbury's recent AWOL (involving, ironically, these same Suns), I guess that would be too much common sense to expect.

Let's face it, if this weren't one of the NBA's all-time dysfunctional operations and wasn't run by aberrant behaviorists I wouldn't be throwing this out there.

Additionally, I know things about Thomas that convinced me long ago he cares little about his players and mostly about saving his job; winning is somewhere in between.

Jamaal Tinsley grew up an Isiah Thomas fan, the reason he wears No. 11, yet found out early as a Pacer how quickly Isiah would write you off if you didn't put him ahead of personal matters.

When Jamaal needed time off to visit his cancer-stricken mother in Maryland during the '02-'03 season, Thomas offered none of his infamous love or even a little sympathy. In fact, had team president Donnie Walsh not given permission, I'm not so sure Jamaal would've been excused.

When Jamaal's mother died March 24, 2003, the Pacers chartered a plane on an ensuing practice day to take the team to the Brooklyn wake. Only four teammates were decent enough human beings to make the trip: Jeff Foster, Jonathan Bender, Al Harrington and one other whose name escapes me.

Team captain Reggie Miller, who comes from a solid family and should know better and rags players on TNT for not doing the right thing on and off the court, stayed home.

So did Thomas; you remember him, that great leader of men often heard spouting how youngbloods need strong guidance and a positive example. How can a coach ask players to dig in on defense as a team and not insist they comfort a teammate as a unit?

Worse yet, Thomas forbid his assistant coaches to board the charter.

No matter how much success Larry Bird attains in Indiana he'll never top that first command to fire Thomas.

peter.vecsey@nypost.com

Phildog
12-04-2007, 10:37 AM
I can believe so few went as the imminent implosion of that "team" was what kept them from attaining success. It was a talented bunch that couldn't keep their cool, be responsible and play basketball

Putnam
12-04-2007, 10:39 AM
I was shaking my head throughout this article, but it didn't spin all the way around until this:



Worse yet, Thomas forbid his assistant coaches to board the charter.

:hmm: The mind boggles.

SycamoreKen
12-04-2007, 10:47 AM
Wow, Thomas really is not a good person, is he? It is too bad more of the guys didn't support Tins at that time. I'm sure they had their reasons, but it is hard to believe they wouldn't have gone to be there for him.

Anthem
12-04-2007, 11:01 AM
That's just weird.

Will Galen
12-04-2007, 12:08 PM
I really liked Thomas when he went to IU. I also thought he was a class individual. Then I started hearing things. When I read about him ignoring an officer of the law and driving around a wreck on I-465 is when I decided he wasn't a good guy.

As he has proved time and again he just cares about himself.

FlavaDave
12-04-2007, 12:10 PM
Before I judge the players too harshly, I'd like to know how much pressure Isiah put on the players to not attend the funeral.

cgg
12-04-2007, 12:27 PM
Before I judge the players too harshly, I'd like to know how much pressure Isiah put on the players to not attend the funeral.

Might be on to something there...

avoidingtheclowns
12-04-2007, 12:41 PM
Before I judge the players too harshly, I'd like to know how much pressure Isiah put on the players to not attend the funeral.

if pressure was the reason, you'd think it'd be the newer guys (like foster, bender, etc) that would be afraid to go and seasoned vets (like reggie) who would be willing to disregard pressure. its reggie freaking miller... was zeke gonna bench him?

idioteque
12-04-2007, 12:50 PM
Before I judge the players too harshly, I'd like to know how much pressure Isiah put on the players to not attend the funeral.


IT? Showing a lack of class? Noooooo ;)

Bball
12-04-2007, 01:04 PM
Maybe this is a clue in Jamaal's reasoning for not returning to the team after the funeral for quite some time.

-Bball

naptownmenace
12-04-2007, 01:19 PM
Maybe this is a clue in Jamaal's reasoning for not returning to the team after the funeral for quite some time.

-Bball

Yeah, this was a year of chaos and I gave Jamaal a pass on this season because of having to go through this.

Isiah, my childhood hero, disgusts me. This just clinches it for me... IT is a piece of crap.

Aw Heck
12-04-2007, 01:45 PM
Maybe Isiah's antics were the reason for that season's collapse. Right around the All-Star break, the team had the best record in the East.

Everything went downhill from there, culminating with the #6 seed Celtics eliminating the #3 seed Pacers in the playoffs.

Unclebuck
12-04-2007, 02:19 PM
Maybe Isiah's antics were the reason for that season's collapse. Right around the All-Star break, the team had the best record in the East.

Everything went downhill from there, culminating with the #6 seed Celtics eliminating the #3 seed Pacers in the playoffs.

I have always thought that Isiah was to blame for the collapse. There were other possible reason, JT's Mother, Croshere father-in-law I think died and JO found his step-father after he tried to commit suicide and there were injuries and a brutal March schedule, but isiah losing the team and the players tuning IT out was by far the biggest reason for the collapse. There was also the Artest stuff. But I'll never forget some of the things Mark and Slick said about Isiah after he was fired, similar things they continue to say about Isiah.

Shack80
12-04-2007, 02:24 PM
No matter how much success Larry Bird attains in Indiana he'll never top that first command to fire Thomas. [/b]

peter.vecsey@nypost.com

LOL, that is sig worthy. Great line by Vescey.

FlavaDave
12-04-2007, 02:25 PM
I have always thought that Isiah was to blame for the collapse. There were other possible reason, JT's Mother, Croshere father-in-law I think died and JO found his step-father after he tried to commit suicide and there were injuries and a brutal March schedule, but isiah losing the team and the players tuning IT out was by far the biggest reason for the collapse. There was also the Artest stuff. But I'll never forget some of the things Mark and Slick said about Isiah after he was fired, similar things they continue to say about Isiah.


Can you drop a few anecdotes here? I've never heard them and I don't listen to the games on the radio.

CableKC
12-04-2007, 02:43 PM
What timing.....I wonder if Zeke is going to let Marbury attend his father's funeral.

With all the "stuff" that Marbury has on Zeke.....I would guess that Zeke would charter the plane that Marbury is going to fly out on.

Unclebuck
12-04-2007, 02:45 PM
Can you drop a few anecdotes here? I've never heard them and I don't listen to the games on the radio.

They both said soon after he was fired that he'll never get another chance to coach in the NBA. Maybe someone else can help my memory. What was it with Mercer, Slick said something about how Isiah handled Mercer. I was shocked how little respect both of them had for Isiah. Mark was on WIBC a couple of months ago and had no explanation for why isiah was still employed by the Knicks.

My memory is failing me about other specifics - not sure if any of the old threads are still around. I might do a quick search.

Edit: i did do a search, but couldn't find the exact comments from mark and Slick after Isiah was fired. There were some references to it, but not the actual quotes

Since86
12-04-2007, 03:21 PM
Well there is that one certain person on this board that could probably shed a tad bit more light on Mr. Boyle's and Slick's personal opinion. ;)

Anthem
12-04-2007, 04:01 PM
Well there is that one certain person on this board that could probably shed a tad bit more light on Mr. Boyle's and Slick's personal opinion. ;)
Mark's not going to come on here and say anything.





No matter how much we wish... :D

Since86
12-04-2007, 04:50 PM
Even if it's one out of two million, you're still tellin me there's a chance!

Now I just need a pic of Lloyd.

Rajah Brown
12-04-2007, 05:34 PM
Isiah = Egomaniac. Simple as that.

Trader Joe
12-04-2007, 05:39 PM
Wow. That almost leaves you without words. Thomas's actions telling the assistant coaches not to go are inexcusable. As to the player's who didn't go I sincerely hope they had prior commitments that kept them from attending. Props to Jeff, JB, and Al for going to the funeral.

Thomas is a piece of crap as far as I am concerned. A bad GM, an even worse coach, and it would appear a horrible friend and human being.

Elgin56
12-04-2007, 05:59 PM
Isiah even has played the race card on Bird, saying that if Bird was black he would be considered just an average NBA player. He and another player made that comment back when Bird was still playing. Magic Johnson set him straight and Isiah quickly apologised for making the comment. Isiah is all about Isiah.

Shade
12-04-2007, 06:09 PM
I wonder if Zeke was always like this, or if a certain ex-coach at IU had any kind of influence on him.

DisplacedKnick
12-04-2007, 06:12 PM
To deviate from Isiah who is and always has been an absolute snake ...

This is rumor at this point but Marbury was led from the Garden with an escort of 5 security guards apparently having a screaming tirade. A person claiming to be a cousin of his called into a NY radio show and said Marbury is furious with the organization for not telling him immediately and denying the chance to be with his father during his last moments and that he's saying he's 100% through with the Knicks.

Still rumor/hearsay right now - there's another story floating that Marbury's family asked the team not to notify him until after the game. Not sure if I believe that one or not - seems to me if your father is ill and you're close - which they evidently were since Marbury's father lives in Maryland and still attends most Knick games - I can't see the family making that request.

Anyway, if this rumor is true (the first one) it may be the end for Mills - Isiah too if he had anything to do with it.

There's wrong and there's abominable behavior and this, if true, was abominable.

Shade
12-04-2007, 06:21 PM
To deviate from Isiah who is and always has been an absolute snake ...

This is rumor at this point but Marbury was led from the Garden with an escort of 5 security guards apparently having a screaming tirade. A person claiming to be a cousin of his called into a NY radio show and said Marbury is furious with the organization for not telling him immediately and denying the chance to be with his father during his last moments and that he's saying he's 100% through with the Knicks.

Still rumor/hearsay right now - there's another story floating that Marbury's family asked the team not to notify him until after the game. Not sure if I believe that one or not - seems to me if your father is ill and you're close - which they evidently were since Marbury's father lives in Maryland and still attends most Knick games - I can't see the family making that request.

Anyway, if this rumor is true (the first one) it may be the end for Mills - Isiah too if he had anything to do with it.

There's wrong and there's abominable behavior and this, if true, was abominable.

I don't blame Marbury one bit if this is true, and the family did not tell them not to notify him. I'd tell them to go eff themselves as well.

On the bright side, maybe we'll soon get to hear what dirt Marbury has on Isiah.

ilive4sports
12-04-2007, 06:22 PM
That is just wrong on so many levels if that is true. I sincerely hope that its false because i would like to think people are better than that.

Shade
12-04-2007, 06:30 PM
That is just wrong on so many levels if that is true. I sincerely hope that its false because i would like to think people are better than that.

Most people are. Some people aren't.

Speed
12-04-2007, 06:59 PM
I always think of Zeke as most likely to go OJ someday. Just a feeling.

Anthem
12-04-2007, 07:27 PM
Just out of curiosity... is anybody interested in calling shenanigans on the Zeke/Tinsley stuff? It IS Vescey, after all...

wintermute
12-04-2007, 07:37 PM
first thing i thought of. it really sucks if it's true, but we're not likely to get confirmation from other sources any time soon.

for what's it worth, the knicks are such a mess that it's hard to pin all the blame on isiah. he's part of the mess, no doubt, but you have to think that dolan's well-documented paranoia is a major factor as well.

Arcadian
12-05-2007, 02:38 AM
This is rumor at this point but Marbury was led from the Garden with an escort of 5 security guards apparently having a screaming tirade. A person claiming to be a cousin of his called into a NY radio show and said Marbury is furious with the organization for not telling him immediately and denying the chance to be with his father during his last moments and that he's saying he's 100% through with the Knicks.

There's wrong and there's abominable behavior and this, if true, was abominable.

If that is true, it is inhuman. There is no way I would continue working for an organization that did that to me.

Bball
12-05-2007, 02:42 AM
To deviate from Isiah who is and always has been an absolute snake ...

This is rumor at this point but Marbury was led from the Garden with an escort of 5 security guards apparently having a screaming tirade. A person claiming to be a cousin of his called into a NY radio show and said Marbury is furious with the organization for not telling him immediately and denying the chance to be with his father during his last moments and that he's saying he's 100% through with the Knicks.

Still rumor/hearsay right now - there's another story floating that Marbury's family asked the team not to notify him until after the game. Not sure if I believe that one or not - seems to me if your father is ill and you're close - which they evidently were since Marbury's father lives in Maryland and still attends most Knick games - I can't see the family making that request.

Anyway, if this rumor is true (the first one) it may be the end for Mills - Isiah too if he had anything to do with it.

There's wrong and there's abominable behavior and this, if true, was abominable.


Even if the family said not to tell Marbury... does that really mean they shouldn't do it anyway?

-Bball

Peck
12-05-2007, 03:42 AM
Just out of curiosity... is anybody interested in calling shenanigans on the Zeke/Tinsley stuff? It IS Vescey, after all...

Honestly it crossed my mind. Not because it is Vescey, but because this goes against so many just basic human levels of descency that it makes me pause.

Stopped his assistant coach's from going??? Sorry but I am having a hard time swallowing that one.

Not saying it's false, just saying that is very very hard to believe.

For all of Isiah's faults, and he has many, the one thing that he did do very well was handle Jermaine O'Neal on a human level and I was under the impression that he and Jamaal got along as well.

I usually trust Vescey when it comes to the Pacers, but this is a little much.

However if it is true, I want to know if ownership/Walsh knew this. If they did, why did they let this stand?

Sollozzo
12-05-2007, 03:59 AM
Wasn't there a story about Isiah Thomas putting Vince Carter on the spot before the 03 all star game when the media was lobbying for Jordan get the start. IIRC, Thomas reportedly put Carter on the spot in front of the entire team and said "So what's it gonna be, Vince?"

He's just classless in every way that a person can be.

Bball
12-05-2007, 04:24 AM
and I was under the impression that he and Jamaal got along as well.



According to Vecsey, Tinsley was one of the players Isiah had JO demand be traded. It was Artest, Tinsley, and Mercer.

I don't know that Tinsley and Isiah got along well at all as time went on. And I always thought the extended time that Tinsley missed after his mother's funeral was more than a little odd.

Vecsey's story would explain that a little better... It's not like we could expect the local press (especially at that time) to give us any indication that anything might've been amiss and animosity might've been a factor.

_Bball

Peck
12-05-2007, 06:02 AM
According to Vecsey, Tinsley was one of the players Isiah had JO demand be traded. It was Artest, Tinsley, and Mercer.

I don't know that Tinsley and Isiah got along well at all as time went on. And I always thought the extended time that Tinsley missed after his mother's funeral was more than a little odd.

Vecsey's story would explain that a little better... It's not like we could expect the local press (especially at that time) to give us any indication that anything might've been amiss and animosity might've been a factor.

_Bball

Your right, I totally forgot about that.

Wow, I have no idea what to say then.

If all of this is true then Isiah Thomas is a real bag of crap.

DisplacedKnick
12-05-2007, 07:49 AM
If that is true, it is inhuman. There is no way I would continue working for an organization that did that to me.

Well, according to the Post a family friend is saying Marbury might rejoin the team very soon. If that's true then the hearsay/rumor I offered yesterday is wrong.

I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. If something's bothering him, Marbury's never been one to keep it to himself.

Unclebuck
12-05-2007, 09:44 AM
Vescey does get some things wrong, and he does takes some liberties from time to time, he takes a grain of truth and blows it up into a big deal. I understand all that. Still enjoy reading his column a lot.

But in this case, when he's talking about something that happened almost 5 years ago, I tend to believe him more than when he's predicting trades or reporting what teams are talking about trading so and so.

Doug
12-05-2007, 11:49 AM
However if it is true, I want to know if ownership/Walsh knew this. If they did, why did they let this stand?

This is the biggest "red flag" on the report for me. I like to think that TPTB would have stepped in if this was true. Either to override the decision if they knew beforehand or fire IT if they knew afterwards.

It is entirely possible that they felt pressure from Isiah too, with JO apparently being in IT's corner. And that pressure, or "threat" from IT to turn JO against the franchise might have had something to do with the whole "sign JO to an extension, then bring in Bird who fires Isiah" scenario.

That's all speculation on my part, though.

Ransom
12-05-2007, 12:02 PM
Isiah even has played the race card on Bird, saying that if Bird was black he would be considered just an average NBA player. He and another player made that comment back when Bird was still playing. Magic Johnson set him straight and Isiah quickly apologised for making the comment. Isiah is all about Isiah.

Just for the record, that "other player" that made the initial comment to which Thomas replied was Dennis Rodman, who was then a rookie. Oddly enough, I never thought too much about that, since it was right after losing an emotional playoff series, though I guess Rodman later said something similar during the Pacers/Bulls series.

Always wondered why Thomas and not Rodman got all the flack for that.

Indianapolis_girly
12-05-2007, 08:33 PM
Wow, that's definately not good. Interesting stuff though, for sure.