Thursday, October 4, 2012


Isiah Thomas sits and waits at a large conference table.  He's ready.  Armani, Florsheim, and a Gucci power  tie.   People, heads down, pass by the glass windows.  They text, pour over scripts, squint at incomprehensible pay stubs. 

A young lady enters.

 "Hello...sir.  Sara Walsh." 

They shake hands.

"So," says Sara. "You're hear for...?"

"It's me, Isiah Thomas.  I'm looking for a position as an on the air commentator." 

Sara giggles.  "Okay, Mr. Thomas.  Those kind of jobs are...well...You have to be a real somebody in sports."

She stares at Isiah.  A blank stare. "  Do you have a resume?" she says.  "Something, you know, I could follow along...while we talk about this.  But, I'll be honest, we have a pretty full roster of on air talent right now."

"But...I'm Isiah Thomas.  Here's the reason I'm here.  I was out at LAX last week, getting my bags.  Guy points at me, and snaps his fingers.  You know what he says to me?  Hey, I know you. You're Jerome Bettis, the Bus.  I felt about this high."  He puts his hand not too high in the air.  "He thinks I'm some old football player.  I need to get back in front of the public, so they know who I am again."

"Well, " says Sara. "You didn't bring a"  She opens her lap top, and types in Isiah Thomas/Wikipedia.  She stares into the monitor.  "Oh, yes.  Here you are.  Mr. Isiah Thomas, NBA Basketball player.  Okay.  We'll just use this as your resume."

She turns the monitor screen so they can both see it.

"Your last employment..?"

"You don't know me, do you?  Everyone calls me Zeke.  Lady, I'm in the Basket Ball Hall of Fame, come on."

"Yes," she says.  "I see it here."  She points at the screen.  "Okay, lets go backwards, the way we do interviews here.  Probably won't need any references...Hall of Fame and  You're last employment was...?"

"Maybe it'd be better if I get interviewed by some guy who knows me.  You think?"

"Mr. Thomas.   We're crazy busy around here. This is how it works.  I do the first interview.  If you're able to get past me,  I'm sure you'll get someone who knows who you are."

She pulls her lap top back, toward her, and leans in, closer to the screen.  "Now, your last employment?"
Isiah clenches his fists under the table.  A deep breath, "Last three years I've been the basketball coach for the Florida International University, 2009 to 2012."

"And how did that go?" 

"Well, young got it right in front of you.  FIU had five losing season, so I wanted to help them out.  But, at the same time I took a consulting job with the New York Knicks. Holding both jobs violated NBA by-laws. So..."

 " got fired..?  The University went 26–65 in those three seasons."

Isiah blinks.  His jaw tightens.  "Look, I was stretched real thin, so I had a problem focusing on the University."

"Could not focus...Okay?"  Sara makes a note on a note pad. Then stares at the screen. "Says here, you had a problem with Michael Jordan?  Now, there's a name I know.  He's around here a lot.  If there's a problem with Mr. Jordan...I don't think we can hire..."

"No problem, never was," says Isiah.  He laughs.  "He says we froze him out of an All Star Game once when he was a young player.  But it's all good now."  His voice rises.  "There never really was a problem, whatever he says."  He rubs the side of his face.

"  Oh boy."  She looks Isiah in the eye.  "I see here a law suit.  Sexual Harassment?  This is not good.  Not good at all."

"Oh that," says Isiah.  He waves his hand in the air.  "It never went to court.  Complete misunderstanding."  Again his voice rises.  "Nothing to it."

"But...Sexual Harassment is a very..."

"Okay, we made a deal...we paid her."

"Says here $11.5 million dollars?"

"She had no case.  To get her to go away, we simply paid her off." 

Sweat forms on his forehead. He gets up and begins to pace, flexing his fingers.

"And, there's an attempted overdose?"  She looks up at him, and shakes her head.  "This just gets better and better.  Drugs are pretty much a deal breaker here, Mr. Thompson."

"Thomas.  Isiah Thomas."  His voice is very loud.  "Damn,  girl.  It's Thomas.  It was Lunestta, a sleeping pill.  Back in 2008, come on.  I was tired and took too many, okay?"

"Not necessary to raise you voice, sir.  And wow, you bought the CBA...ten million dollars?"

He paces.  "I was an NBA All Star, so why not buy a B-Ball League?  So I did, the CBA.

"But the League collapsed?  Bankruptcy?"

"I gotta explain all this?  I was also the head coach of the Indiana Pacers at the same the CBA didn't do so well."

"Lack of focus again, Mr. Thomas?  Being able to focus is very big around here..."

Sara looks up.  A lady waves, and comes into the room.  A pretty lady in a tight blue skirt, and a wiley smile.

"Well, hello. It's Hannah."  Sara leans in close to Isiah, and whispers,  "It's Hannah Storm."

"Thanks Sara. I'll show Isiah around.  I've been listening in."

"Listening in?" says Isiah.

"Well, it's important we get a good idea..."

"That's not right," say Isiah.  "You treat everybody comes in here like this?"

Hannah takes Isiah to a small cubicle down a long aisle.

"If you get a position here, this is where you'll be working.  Just put your stuff on the table there.  Fix it up anyway you like.  You get your own computer."

Isiah takes a deep breath.  "This is it?  But...I was thinking more own office.  I used to have a huge office...with a window looking out over Detroit...a view of Belle Isle..."

"Your own office?" says Hannah.  "Please.  I have an office, sure, but, you'll be starting with graveyard shift stuff...if you're hired..and well..."

Isiah freezes at the sight of the cubicle.  No windows, no views, no freedom, "No, no way.  This isn't going to work.  A small, thin, sticky notes on the wall, cubicle.  Not for me.  No.  I'm the one in charge.  I do the telling."

"Well, as a matter of fact, I'd be your handler here. Your marching orders, you know, would come from me, until you're ready to go on the air."

"No, this isn't going to work out.  Nobody's going to put me in a little box...and working for a woman? I'm sorry."

"I don't like your tone, Mr Thomas.  You came to us, remember?"

He turns and strides toward the front door.  "No body knows who I am anymore."  As he pushes out the door, the lobby elevators open and two older ladies walk out. 

In his haste, Isiah throws an elbow as he passes them.  (A holdover from his playing days?)

"What the hell, ladies," he says.  "I'm walking here."

The ladies look at each other, grab Thomas by the back of his coat, each taking a leg.  They carry him outside, flip up a manhole cover, and drop him in.  They smile and punch fists at his agonizing screams.

"Some kind of old football player?"

"Beats the hell out of me."


Isiah Thomas/WikiPedia,,,, Google/Images,

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