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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Tough to swallow

By Tony Pizza

When I was about eight years old, I would make sandwiches for my younger brothers and sister. I wasn’t making them sandwiches because I was nice; I was making them “fear factor” sandwiches way before “Fear Factor” became a popular television show.

One of my tamer creations was a relish sandwich with green olives and nutmeg sprinkled across an inescapably sticky bed of peanut butter and jelly. These sandwiches became dares to my siblings to see if they were brave enough to try to swallow down the nastiness.

Often, when I made a sandwich so repulsive that my siblings even refused a double-dare, I would give them the choice of either eating it or facing the deadly crane kick I had developed through the hundreds of hours I spent using “The Karate Kid” as my sensei.

Thinking back, I can only imagine how much my siblings would relish a single opportunity to make their older brother, the sandwich maker, eat his own sandwich just once.

My siblings must have felt a lot like how coaches Herb Williams, Don Chaney, Lenny Wilkens and Larry Brown felt while cleaning out their New York Knicks office for the last time. Each of these coaches must have been praying, just like my siblings did, that his older brother/boss Isiah Thomas would finally get forced to chew on the foul creation that they had been forced to swallow.

Being a Utah Jazz fan, it is easy for me to dislike Isiah Thomas. Ever since Karl Malone special-delivered a 40-stitch gash to Isiah’s face, Isiah has graciously ripped John Stockton, Karl Malone and the Jazz every opportunity he has had. There is no doubt in my mind that if Isiah were starting a franchise, he wouldn’t think twice about taking Kwame Brown or Danny Ferry over Karl Malone as the starting power forward.

Isiah, on the other hand, has done more damage to basketball than 20 Karl Malone elbows could do to his face.

Not only did Isiah Thomas single-handedly drive the CBA into bankruptcy when he owned the league from 1998 and 2000, but he has also turned the New York Knicks into the biggest train-wreck franchise in sports today.

In all fairness to Thomas, the Knicks organization hasn’t been in that great of shape since it lost Patrick Ewing and let Whoopi Goldberg fictitiously coach the team in the movie “Eddie.” However, the Knicks’ GM has done nothing to sweeten the situation. He has had three previous NBA Coaches of the Year awards, two of which are in the Hall of Fame, and none of them have been able to work with Isiah’s terrible personnel decisions.

The Knicks currently have three shooting guards and two point guards in shooting guards’ clothing, all of which are among the best talent on the team. The problem is that at least two of them have to be sitting on the bench at all times for the Knicks to be able to play defense. The bigger problem is that most of these players have attitudes and contracts that no other NBA franchise would take on for free.

Isiah Thomas has turned the New York Knicks into a black hole where bad NBA contracts come to die. Just last year he took on Jalen Rose and Steve Francis’ high-money, long-term contracts in exchange for players in the last years of expensive contracts. Collectively, these decisions have basically handcuffed the Knicks’ organization with a high payroll that includes many talented players who all basically play the same position.

Really, the only good that comes out of this situation is that Isiah’s predecessors will get a long-term wish fulfilled: They will finally get to see the man who is at least partially responsible for their unsuccessful tenure as New York Knicks coach. Knicks fans can also appreciate that the post-Isiah Thomas era is quickly approaching. This coaching charade will be the last stop before Thomas catches the train to somewhere in Indiana where people still think ‘Zeke isn’t a disgrace to the game of basketball.

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