Isiah Thomas, the previous NBA and Indiana University star level guard, was just lately a visitor on The Pivot Podcast and spoke about numerous basketball greats, together with Bobby Knight and Larry Bird.
Thomas, who performed two seasons for Knight at IU, informed numerous stories for over an hour, together with one a couple of struggle that just about came about on a recruiting journey between the coach and Thomas’ brother.
“My brother requested Coach Knight, he mentioned, ‘Going right down to Indiana, you might have a whole lot of the (Ku Klux) Klan in Indiana. If one thing jumps off … who’s going to deal with (Isiah)?’ I believed this was a great reply by Coach Knight however my brother did not prefer it. Coach Knight leaned again and he mentioned, ‘Well, if we’re profitable, they’ll look out for him.'”
Thomas’ brother apparently didn’t like that reply, which led to Knight suggesting that the 2 males take the argument outdoors.
“Coach Knight stood up, took off his coat, began rolling up his sleeves and the entire home was like, ‘No, no no! We cannot struggle!'” Thomas mentioned. “Then everyone is heated, actually heated. You look over there once more and my mother is sitting there. I used to be like, ‘She likes (Knight).'”
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While Thomas was not satisfied to play for Knight through the recruiting journey, Thomas’ mom made the choice for her son to play at IU.
“Coach Knight got here and when he got here he mentioned, ‘I’m going to supply your son three issues,'” Thomas quoted his mom as saying. “‘A, he will be a gentleman. B, he will graduate from faculty. And C, I’m going to show him every part in regards to the recreation of basketball that I do know.'”
The former Pistons’ level guard admitted to being kicked out of shape and arguing with Knight, however famous he was “so pleased and glad that Coach Knight had the braveness to teach me and have confrontations with me.'”
“He wasn’t attempting to be my buddy,” Thomas mentioned. “I did not know the expertise I had and I did not know the kind of individual I’d develop to be. I knew at 17 I wasn’t the individual I needed to be or the kind of participant I used to be going to be .”
Thomas additionally touched on his battles with Knight whereas at IU.
“At the top of the day you notice Coach Knight was no little dude,” Thomas mentioned. “He was 6-6 and he would get all crimson when he began screaming and hollering. It was like, ‘OK, that is going to be an extended battle.'”
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After his taking part in profession, Thomas was the pinnacle coach of the Indiana Pacers from 2000 to 2003. Larry Bird, who coached the Pacers earlier than Thomas, took over because the crew’s president of basketball operations.
“I had some younger guys that I had put a little bit pepper in and we had been able to win,” Thomas mentioned. “Now that we had been able to win, Larry Bird tapped me on the shoulder and mentioned, ‘You’ve finished a great job right here. I just like the job you might have finished. As a matter of truth, I prefer it a lot, I ‘I’m going to provide it to my buddy.’ His title was Rick Carlisle.'”
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Bird fired Thomas and employed Carlisle, who led the Pacers to a 61-21 document through the 2003-04 season. During the podcast, Thomas, as he has finished earlier than, mentioned the Malice on the Palace struggle, which came about through the 2004-05 season in Detroit, wouldn’t have occurred if he was the coach.
“There can be no Malice on the Palace if I used to be teaching that crew as a result of I do not suppose the Detroit Pistons followers would have acted that method with me,” Thomas mentioned. “By the way in which, if I used to be up 15 in Detroit, I would not have had my starters out on the ground at the moment. I simply would not. I positively would not have had Artest within the recreation at the moment. I knew my gamers, I knew my crew. I feel Rick was nonetheless studying these guys.”