Thomas was asked about Rodman's comments. He repeated what Rodman said and laughed. Thomas said at the time that his laughter clearly signaled he was being sarcastic.
I don't particularly care if Thomas was being sarcastic. The NBA thrived in the 1980s off the racial tension produced by Bird's dominance in a league dominated by black athletes. In the frustrating moments after a difficult loss, two black athletes in their early 20s repeated an unsophisticated argument that was raging among black NBA fans throughout the '80s.
The comments were dumb. They weren't that big of a deal. They didn't expose Thomas or Rodman as bigoted. They exposed them as emotional and combustible ingredients in a racial pressure cooker that made the NBA ultra-relevant during the Bird era.
I digress. My point is that Thomas' basketball hometown should be more forgiving, sympathetic and diligent in assessing the greatest player in Pistons history. Detroit and its media should know Thomas best.
I don't think they do. I think everyone has swallowed the negative talking points.
Thomas ruined the CBA!
When was the CBA ever great? When? Stern put the kibosh on the CBA because he wanted to launch his own developmental league. Is the D-League some sort of raging success? Or is it surviving on the back of the NBA?
I could pick through almost every Isiah negative narrative and point out the distortions and outright lies. I've done it before.
But I'm not going to waste your time. Thomas and Bill Laimbeer (as head coach) deserve a chance to run the Pistons. They were the substance that propelled the Bad Boys to greatness. They were the brains and the heart driving the Pistons. They were the leaders.
No one doubts Thomas' ability to evaluate young talent. His draft reputation is strong. He made some bad decisions in free agency in New York. Every GM makes mistakes in free agency. He learned some lessons at Jim Dolan's expense. Good for Detroit.
Let the national media crack unfair jokes about Thomas. The people in Detroit owe Thomas a fair, objective and sincere evaluation. Years ago Thomas didn't realize he embodied the spirit of Detroit. The "Bad Boys" doc left me believing Thomas is exactly what the city needs again.