In his presidential office in Taipei, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek used to display maps of the Republic of China—a vast and mighty nation, of which he was the maximum leader, except for the 99.6 percent of it that was temporarily under control of the Communists. In Miami, Florida International University basketball coach Isiah Thomas tells ESPNNewYork.com that his blueprint for building the New York Knicks into NBA champions is
The original plan, according to Thomas, was for the Knicks to win a championship this year, after team president Isiah Thomas successfully recruited LeBron James to New York:
Hired as president of the Knicks in December of 2003, Thomas said he targeted James as the centerpiece of a future title winner in New York "from the first day he got in the league, as soon as I got the job."
Thomas guessed James would ultimately sign an extension with Cleveland that would keep him with the Cavaliers through 2010, but went about acquiring players he thought would appeal to LeBron, anyway. Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford, for instance.
Alas, the Knicks—lacking the imaginary LeBron James' discerning taste in players—fired Thomas before he could finish implementing the plan. So for the moment, Thomas is in the history books as the guy who built a team around Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford.
Despite not being an employee of the Knicks, Thomas tried to convince James to come to New York this year. For some reason, it didn't work.
Not that Thomas is giving up on the hope of being a high-ranking Knicks executive in the summer of 2014, when James can opt out of his deal with the Heat.
"I'd like to still hold onto that dream," Thomas said. "I do think that he'll win championships here in Miami, and they will be a great dynasty. ... But I think when he comes to New York and he wins it in New York, I think he's the greatest player ever."
This is the opposite of tragedy plus time equaling comedy. The darkly hilarious spectacle of Thomas' tenure with the Knicks has aged into something unspeakably twisted and sad. Please, reporters, stop talking to Isiah Thomas.
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