A few weeks back we checked in on Isiah Thomas' first season at FIU and found things weren't exactly going well on the court. This week, Dave Hyde went behind the scenes in Thomas' office, and found things there were going hilariously.
In his office...the walls are bare except for the television for game video, an article about his West Side Chicago background and a bizarre painting with a birth, spaceships and a man screaming ("Alonzo Mourning," Thomas says).
Hey, who doesn't have a painting of birth, spaceships, and Alonzo Mourning screaming in his office? Frank Haith, for one, but it doesn't seem to be helping the Hurricanes. The best part is we can assume from the mad lib-ian combo of subjects that the painting was commissioned.
"Yes? This is Isiah Thomas. I'm in the Hall of Fame. I-S-I-A-H, yeah. Can you paint something with alien aircraft, where babies come from, a unicorn, and a certain local ex-NBA player screaming in either triumph or horror? Oh, great, thanks. It's for my office, where I will attempt to convince parents to turn their young men over to me for four years....hmmm, on that thought maybe we should leave out the unicorn -- those aren't real. But do birth; definitely need someone giving birth on there. And spaceships, because this is an academic evironment and those take science. Thanks."
Ah, to be on the receiving end of that glorious assignment. There's also a video Thomas had made of his own career (presumably leaving out the whole coaching-the-Knicks-into-the-ground part), which he plays in the basketball offices:
"Great for recruiting,'' he says. "You say, ‘Here, take a seat, watch the show.'"
There's a young Thomas on the television...he bounces a pass off the court for an alley-oop dunk against the Knicks.
"My players say, ‘You don't allow us to do that,'" he says.
"I say, ‘You can't do that.'"
Pure Isiah Thomas, and quite necessary, as right now the FIU basketball program has nothing going for it except the weather and what their oddball coach accomplished in his playing days.
Well, that and scaceships, which -- who knows? -- just might take them places.
Janie Campbell loves ball park hot dogs and fat guys running back fumbles. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.