Aaron Guile: Why Isiah Thomas is stitching mad at Karl Malone
ESPNChicago.com quotes Malone with: “I never had any issue with Isiah. I think guys realized that it didn’t matter who was on the team. I know I could have cared less. It didn’t matter to me who was on that team. I was a part of something great.”
Malone is simply saying he didn't care who was on the Dream Team. I believe Malone. Sort of. I'm sure he black-balled Greg Ostertag.
I don’t know Malone personally, but this type of dirty-dealing doesn’t sound right. I love and respect Malone, but after getting beat-up, hospitalized and patronized, Thomas doesn’t. After the hammer-dunk elbow to the face, Thomas would hate Santa Claus, if Santa had delivered the blow. I'm sure Thomas believes in the Jordan, Pippen, Malone Dream Team black-ball conspiracy.
Posit No. 2 is entertainment.
Thomas ran his trap on NBA Open Court TV hosted by Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith. Johnson and Smith use Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley as comic relief and need someone saying something goofy to draw viewers. All Johnson and Smith had to do was mention something guaranteed to get Thomas wound up. The interview was like playing with a toy pull-back race car: Get the car all revved up and then watch it go.
It was easy. Johnson and Smith know about the elbow, stitches, hospital stay, bad blood, black-ball and missing gold-medal. With a little revving, they get Thomas to speak gibberish about the second-highest scoring player in NBA history. Thomas can defend himself by saying he has two championship rings and coaching credibility. Yeah, right, Thomas got manipulated.
Entertainment is a rough business. If Thomas can’t coach four teams to winning records, how's he going to flex intelligence on television. He can’t. Sure he sounds great. Check out the YouTube video of the interview. There is no lingering sign of a concussion or anything. That’s nothing.
I sound reasonably intelligent on almost any subject, but I’m a cartoonist, I'm a poetry-loving English-major and I’m fat. I love slinging cow excrement as much as anyone.
Thomas, however, is serious. He has a mortgage, car payments, new Obamacare insurance premiums, kids and a wardrobe. Thomas needs to pull in the money he was making as a coach. Working the sporting goods counter at Walmart doesn't cut it. He needs TV manipulation like a tweeker looking for the next hit.
I like Thomas. I like the Pistons. I especially liked the 1980s Pistons. The Pistons aren’t the Nuggets or the Lakers, so there is no reason to dislike them. Besides, my dad is from Detroit and half my family lives in Michigan. Until the elbow, however, there was no way to know the Detroit Bad Boys got in Malone's head. The Pistons didn’t seem that menacing. I’ve seen harder hits during a game of church ball or while substitute teaching high school girls PE classes.
Thomas needs to give it a rest. He needs to recognize in sports broadcasting it's heart of campy absurdity and go with the flow. Shaq and Barkley can do it, why not Thomas.
The nice thing for Thomas is the stitches don’t even show. He could be an actor.
Maybe he should try being a spokesman for something fun. He could do Five-Hour Energy ads like Bo Jackson.
He could sell 7-11 Big Gulps.
He could appear in advertisements for Wellbutrin, Citalopram or Zoloft. He could even drive truck or sell cars like Malone.
Whatever Thomas does, he needs get off Johnson and Smith’s couch, get some anger management counseling and stop being bitter.
Aaron Guile lives in Provo and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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