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EX-KNICKS PRESIDENT blames overdose on daughter

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 3:57 pm in Other.

STFHow does Isiah Thomas atone for what’s being called an “accidental overdose” of sleeping pills? He denies that it happened and then shifts attention to his allegedly troubled 17-year-old daughter, Lauren. Deplorable? You bet.

Thomas is a once legendary NBA player and former New York Knicks president who continues drawing from an $18 million, three-year contract with the team. Last Friday, a police report indicated that a 47-year-old man at Thomas’ residence had overdosed on sleeping pills. (Yes, Thomas is 47.) When contacted later by the New York Post, Thomas denied he had overdosed and deflected the incident by saying his 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, was the one with a medical condition.

It “wasn’t an overdose,” he told the newspaper. “My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK.” Clearly! That Thomas’ first instinct was to throw his daughter under the bus is deplorable. But now we find out that he outright lied (there was an overdose) and he painted his child as a scapegoat, perhaps, because of greed.

Although the Harrison, N.Y., police chief David Hall still refuses to identify Thomas as the overdose patient, he was adamant that the patient was a 47-year-old man, not a 17-year-old woman. And Hall went on to speculate as to why Thomas may have blamed his child: “The only thing I can say is maybe he has some stipulation in his contract. If he takes drugs or whatever they may not owe him the $18 million. I have no idea.”

Frankly, Thomas deserves to lose more than the $18 million. He even has his 20-year-old son, Joshua, spouting the “spin” version of the story — Joshua says his sister needed treatment, not his dad. Again, the police report tells a different story. No way am I buying that the police were somehow confused about the difference between a 47-year-old man and 17-year-old woman.

Had Thomas declined to comment or fallen on the standard, “This is a personal, family issue,” I may have given him the benefit of the doubt. He could have spun any version he wanted to appease the folks cutting him a check. But to make this about his daughter — especially if she is having medical issues — is unforgivable. And Thomas hardly has any credibility, considering a jury found that he and Madison Square Garden had sexually harassed a former team executive. Maybe his daughter should sue him, too.

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