Nowadays, thanks to The Last Dance, Isiah Thomas may be more recognized as Michael Jordan’s longstanding rival than an NBA legend.
Thomas allegedly froze Jordan out of the 1985 NBA All-Star game. He then famously walked off the court with 7.9 seconds remaining on the verge of being swept in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, ducking right in front of the Chicago Bulls bench.
The Detroit Pistons point guard was suspiciously left off the Dream Team roster for the 1992 Olympics, reportedly because Jordan didn’t want him on the team. MJ took the slights personally and later thanked Thomas in his Hall of Fame speech for giving him motivation.
While Thomas was the foil to the face-of-sports, he was as good as anyone from that era. He led the Bad Boy Pistons over Larry Bird and the mighty Boston Celtics to overtake the Eastern Conference throne. He was the driver of the team that swept Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the first of back-to-back NBA championships.
We know about Thomas’ career as a player and coach.
How about his family life?
Isiah Thomas’ Wife Lynn Kendall & Kids
Thomas and his wife Lynn Kendall met while they were students at Indiana University. Kendall is the daughter of a Secret Service agent and a nurse. The couple married in 1985.
Thomas ended up agreeing to front $52,000 and a monthly payment of $2,765 until Marc turned 18, then he would receive a lump sum of $100,000. Dones filed another suit in 1992 for additional financial support for Marc’s college education. Marc is a writer, poet, and the CEO of the King County Homelessness Authority.
Isiah Thomas Basketball Career
Isiah Thomas was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois as the youngest of nine children. The point guard was a hoops prodigy from a young age and excelled at St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois — a 90-minute commute from his home.
Thomas went on to play college basketball for Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. In two seasons in Bloomington, he thrived and led IU to the 1981 national championship.
The basketball star entered the 1981 NBA Draft and was selected second overall by the Detroit Pistons. It was the next step of a successful career:
— 2x NBA Champion
— NBA Finals MVP (1990)
— 2x NBA All-Star
— 2x NBA All-Star Game MVP
— 3x All-NBA First Team
— 2x All-NBA Second Team
— NBA All-Rookie First Team (1982)
— J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1987)
— NBA Assists Leader (1985)
— No. 11 Retired by Detroit Pistons
— NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
— NCAA Champion (1981)
— NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1981)
— USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1980)
— McDonald’s All-American (1979)Advertisement
Thomas retired in 1994. In his 13-year career, he averaged 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 9.3 assists. He’s ninth all-time in career assists with 9,061. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Hall of Famer became part owner and Executive Vice President of the Toronto Raptors in 1994. After a four-year stint, he left the organization in 1998.
In 2000, he took over as head coach of the Indiana Pacers. He coached there for three seasons and accumulated a 131-115 record.
The Bad Boy Piston was hired as President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks in December 2003. He was given the reigns as head coach in 2006 in yet another great decision by owner James Dolan. He went 56-108 in two seasons.
Thomas moved to Miami and coached Florida International University from 2009-12. The team went 26-65 in his tenure and never won more than 11 games in a season.
He’s worked as a broadcaster for NBA TV and NBA on NBC.