- When the Toronto Raptors named Isiah Lord Thomas III their Vice President of basketball operations on May 24, 1994, NBA insiders instantly recognized the move as a smart one. The fledgling Raptors, seeking to invest the team with experience, leadership, and general all-round basketball savvy, picked one of the game's legendary point guards to guide them through the always-trying first season and into the future. Toronto fans booed Thomas' first major player decision, the selection of guard Damon Stoudamire. A rookie-of-the-year a season later, Stoudamire demonstrated that Thomas' basketball sense had once again been proven correct. And with the recent firing of head coach Brendan Malone, Isiah Thomas has given notice that even more he's determined to shape the Raptors' image--and future--in his own image. Team leadership, however, was nothing new for Isiah Thomas. During his 13-year pro career, Thomas' playmaking and scoring took the Detroit Pistons to two National Basketball Association championships. When he ended his playing career in 1994--just a few weeks before joining the Raptors' front office--Thomas had climbed to third on the all-time NBA assists list, and had made 12 straight appearances in the All-Star game. Before coming to Detroit, Thomas had led Indiana University to the NCAA title. One of the most popular figures in the NBA, Thomas also spent five years as the President of the NBA Players Association. In The Book of Isiah, the career of the NBA's most successful player-turned-basketball-executive comes to life. From Thomas' early years as a member of a close-knit family trying to survive on Chicago's mean streets, to his years at Indiana University under the stern tutelage of the legendary Bobby Knight, to his stellar seasons with the "Bad Boys" of the Pistons, Thomas' devotion to the game of basketball is chronicled, as is the development of his canny sense of timing both on and off the court. With the newest chapter being written in the boardrooms of the Toronto Raptors, The Book of Isiah details every aspect of big-time hoops for fans of all ages.
Paul Challen is a freelance sportswriter living in Dundas, Ontario.
Published: October 1996
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.