Isiah Thomas Biography

Famous Basketball Players (1961–)
Isiah Thomas is generally regarded as one of the best point guards in the history of basketball. He played for the Detroit Pistons.


Isiah Thomas, born in Chicago in 1961, is regarded as one of the best point guards of all time. Over his career as a guard for the Detroit Pistons (1981–'94), he averaged 19.2 points per game and 9.3 assists per game. He later went on to manage the Toronto Raptors. He was also the CEO of the Continental Basketball Association.


Basketball player Isiah Lord Thomas III was born on April 30, 1961, in Chicago, Illinois, and was regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time. He attended Indiana University and won a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team. The team, however, did not go to the Olympic Games in Moscow that summer because of the U.S. boycott following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

Early Career

As a sophomore, Thomas led Indiana University to a national collegiate title in 1981, averaging 16 points and 5.8 assists a game. In the title game, he scored 23 points in Indiana's 63-50 victory over the University of North Carolina. Thomas left Indiana after two seasons to enter the National Basketball Association draft in 1981 (he was second pick after boyhood friend Mark Aguirre). At 6' 1" tall, he was one of only a few NBA players of his relatively small size who could dominate a professional basketball game.

Career Highlights

As a guard for the Detroit Pistons (1981-'94), Thomas used a variety of fancy moves, becoming a popular and charismatic player and emerging as the leader of the team. He was named to the NBA All-Star team 12 consecutive times, beginning his rookie season. Over his 13-season career, he averaged 19.2 points per game and 9.3 assists per game.

Thomas led the Pistons to the NBA Finals three consecutive years (1988-90), winning in 1989 and 1990. He was named most valuable player of the 1990 championship finals.

Retirement and Management

After he retired in 1994, Thomas was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was also elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas subsequently worked as general manager for the NBA expansion team Toronto Raptors. Later, he was a basketball analyst for NBC. And in 1999, he became the owner and CEO of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), the now-defunct minor league affiliated with the NBA.

Thomas coached the Indiana Pacers beginning in 2000. In 2003, he became general manager for the New York Knicks. After Larry Brown was fired in 2006, he also took over coaching duties.

Sexual Harrassment Charges

In October 2007, a jury in New York ruled that New York Knicks President and Coach Isiah Thomas sexually harassed a top team executive, subjecting Anucha Browne Sanders to unwanted advances and a barrage of verbal insults. The jury also found that Madison Square Garden committed harassment against the married mother of three and ;must pay her $11.6 million in damages. The jury, however, said Thomas does not have to pay damages. "What I did here, I did for every working woman in America," said Browne Sanders."And that includes everyone who gets up and goes to work in the morning, everyone working in a corporate environment."

"I'm innocent, I'm very innocent, and I did not do the things she has accused me in this courtroom of doing," Thomas said moments after the verdict was announced. He and Madison Square Garden said they would appeal.

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