It's probably not a coincidence that today is also the birthday of Isiah Thomas (born in 1961). He is obviously the "Napoleon" of NBA executives. Like Napoleon, he was great on the battlefield. As a military leader, Napoleon was a General during the French Revolution, which obviously was a very successful endeavor. However, once he became the ruler of France, he made some ill-advised moves - invasion of Russia (which led to his exile and death) and the Louisiana Purchase.
Similarly, Isiah was a great leader as a player on the floor. He was arguably the best point guard of all time - certainly among the top five. He led his teams to one NCAA championship and two NBA championships, and his teams were perpetually competitive. He played injured (scored 25 points in the fourth quarter on a broken ankle against the Lakers in the NBA finals). He scored in bunches (scored 16 points in 1:33 against the Knicks in a 1984 playoff game). He continues to be one of my favorite players ever. However, like Napoleon, things went horribly wrong once he became the head honcho. He bankrupted an entire basketball league (the CBA) when he turned down the NBA's offer of $11 million to make it the official minor league. This led to the formation of the NBDL. As a coach, he has never taken a team past the first round of the playoffs. As an executive, he was an absolute train wreck, particularly his most recent stint with the Knicks. He signed mediocre players to huge contracts (Jerome James, Jared Jeffries). He made ill-advised trades (Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry). The Knicks and Isiah were sued by an MSG employee for sexual harassment, which ended up costing the Knicks $11.6 million dollars.
|height||Disputed (5'-2" to 5'-7")||6'-0"|
|battlefield glory||French Revolution||Back-to-back NBA titles|
|worst trade||Louisiana Purchase - doomed France to second-tier nation status||Acquiring Stephon Marbury - doomed Knicks to years of ineptitude|
|worst tactical move||Invasion of Russia||turning down $11M from NBA for CBA|
|termination||Exiled to Elba||Fired as Pacers coach|
|resurgence||Escaped from exile, governed for 100 days||Hired by Knicks|
|disgraced||re-exiled to St. Helena||Fired by Knicks|
|humiliated||chronic hemorrhoids||Sexual harassment lawsuit|
|cause of death||disputed (poison or stomach cancer?)||Shot by deranged Knick fan in 2012|
Anyone else see the similarities? Just me? Okay, I can live with that. Any other suggestions are welcome.