An Introduction to:

"The Book of Isiah - Unraveling The Biggest Myth in Sports”

Chapter 1: The Worst Roster in Sports History?
Chapter  2:  The Past: Rewriting Isiah’s  Resume
Chapter 3: The Salary Cap Myth: Pure Media Madness
Chapter 4: The "Mistakes": Mountains or Mole Hills?
Chapter 5: The  Drafting  Genius:  Isiah  the  Prophet
Chapter 6: The Trades: Turning Weatherspoon Into Wine 

 

 “Tell the whole story. Tell the whole story.” – Isiah Thomas to media throng in 2007 [1]
 
 
In “The Book of Isiah” COSELLOUT will take a comprehensive look back at the 2006 New York Knicks to help tell the story of the machine that is our mainstream sports media (MSM). We will look back at how and why the media has completely misevaluated Thomas’ performance as President and General Manager of the New York Knicks.  Three pivotal episodes in 2006, “The Hall-of-Fame Coach”, “The Draft Pick”, and “The Garden Brawl” will also be explored. Thomas is a central figure in all of these “events”, each of which tell us something different about how sports media bias operates. While we won’t come close to the 66 chapters in the real “Book of Isiah” we may get a third of the way there before we are through. The first few chapters of this ambitious project will squarely address what the back page of The New York Daily News last year called "The Biggest Mess in Sports"… and what we call “The Biggest Myth in Sports”. 
 
Isiah as Punchline: Before any sexual harassment trials were ever concluded, the collective mainstream sports media emphatically handed in its verdict of Isiah Thomas’ performance as Knicks President and General Manager. Isiah’s plea to the MSM to “tell the whole story” has never been delivered. When it comes to Thomas and the past 3.5 years, the media has lied outright, misled, omitted, ignored, and told half-truths so often and for so long that “Isiah as the terrible GM”  became gospel. This vicious local New York media campaign was relentlessly led by The New York Daily News’ Mike Lupica whose weekly articles on the same topic were accompanied on a national level by ESPN’s influential Bill Simmons. Soon, every other sports hack like Lupica, and even knowledgeable basketball analysts like Simmons also jumped on the bash-bandwagon. Headlines with words like “devil” and “evil” became commonplace, and Thomas’ name could be routinely found at or near the bottom of any General Manager latest "rankings" list. Even the normally reserved "The Sporting News" labeled the Knicks front office “The Evil Empire” earlier this year.  Ultimately, Thomas became a source of ridicule amongst masses of sports fans as the the media was able to transform Thomas’ tenure as Knick GM into a national sports punch-line and the symbol of executive incompetence (see ESPN picture below) without any assistance of Anucha Browne-Sanders.
  

With little exception, it wasn’t until 2007 that Isiah would receive any mainstream media credit from only a handful of national journalists[2], and  only a few astute fans and bloggers who actually watched the games knew the real deal. Still most journalists laughed at Isiah, anti-Isiah blogs popped up all over on the web, and tons of fans gleefully followed along. Of course, there was one small problem: Isiah has done an excellent job in rebuilding the Knicks and any analytical, thoughtful, and unbiased review will prove just that. Sexual harassment trials aside, he was the PERFECT selection for New York’s GM at the time because of his astute basketball knowledge, his unparalled guts, and most of all, his unwillingness to be swayed by a national media giving terrible GM advice (i.e. “get under the salary cap”).

Are all these chapters really necessary to debunk the myth of Isiah as bad GM? Won’t one or two articles do? Yes they are, and no they won’t. Through countless conversations with other friends and fans, it is apparent that the media has seared so much negative and flawed information into so many brains that a 12 step program is necessary to undo the damage that an overdose of Jerome James references has inflicted.  And while I am personally a die-hard fan who rarely misses a Knick game (thank you NBA League Pass!),  I have absolutely no personal allegiances to Thomas whatsoever. First and foremost, I am a fan first, and if Thomas were a bad GM, I would be the very first person in line demanding his ouster (see Scott Layden). But the story of Isiah’s (and the Knick’s) media coverage is so much bigger and more fascinating than basketball. It is literally a contained laboratory in "mass media manipulation". Particularly, since most fans (and journalists!) do not really watch most games, they are ripe for the brainwashing. It proves once again that if we are told enough that red is green, we will believe that red is green. It is also a study in various forms of media biases which will soon be discussed in "Chapter 10".

 "The Book of Isiah" is necessary to show exactly how Thomas has successfully positioned the Knicks for a promising future. With the first few “chapters” COSELLOUT will set the record straight in explaining why Thomas was the most qualified executive on the planet to take over the historically unique team that was the New York Knicks in December 2003. While chapters 4 – 6 will specifically address all of the transactions themselves, the first three will address what is most often omitted from Thomas conversations: CONTEXT.

 

 

COMING SOON:             

Chapter 7:  Mike Lupica: The New York Media Ringleader
Chapter 8:  Bill Simmons: The National Media Ringleader
Chapter 9:  The Rest of Media: A Study in Sheep
Chapter 10: How did We Get Here?: A Summary of Biases

 

Other Future Chapters Will Address: “The Hall-of-Fame Coach”, “The Draft Pick”, and “The Garden Brawl”  

 

Related: Starbury and Sarah: American Retail Revolutionaries 





[1]The above quote was in a response to a reporter’s suggestion that a Knicks the 2-10 losing skid was the result of the Knicks not playing as hard after Thomas was granted a multi-year contract extension I 2007. Thomas was referring to how the reporter conveniently forgot to mention that the losing skid coincided with the loss of three of their top five players (David Lee, Jamaal Crawford, & Quentin Richardson) due to injuries.
 

[2]In early 2007 only a handful of national journalists (LZ Granderson, Chris Broussard, Phil Taylor, etc.) had any complimentary coverage. While New York’s local anti-Thomas coverage was fierce, some exceptions include articles by the NY Posts George Willis, the New York Times Harvey Araton, and the Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith. Howard Beck of the New York Times continues to be the most competent, fairest, and even-handed Knicks beat writer in the entire New York press.