It is a moment indelible in Isiah Thomas' memory, and it says a great deal about who Isiah Thomas is, where he came from and the obstacles he had to hurdle to succeed. Thomas, now 42, is back in basketball as of Monday, having accepted the position of general manager of the Knicks, replacing Scott Layden. \nThe story, as Thomas recounts it, took place on a night in the summer of 1966, when the Vice Lords, a notorious street gang in Chicago, stopped in front of the home of Mary Thomas, a single parent. She had nine children, seven of them boys, ranging in age from Lord Henry, 15, to the baby, Isiah, 5. The Thomases lived on the first floor of a two-story, red-brick building on Congress Street, facing the Eisenhower Expressway. \nOne of the Lords rang the doorbell. Mary Thomas, wearing glasses, answered the door. She saw behind the gang leader the rest of his entourage, wearing tams and carrying guns. \n"We want your boys," he told her. "They can't walk around here and not be in no gang." \nShe looked him in the eye. "There's only one gang around here, and that's the Thomas gang," she said. "And I lead that." \nThe gang leader said, "If you don't bring those boys out, we'll get 'em in the streets." \nMary Thomas has also talked about the incident. She said she shut the door, and the gang members waited. Isiah remembers cowering in a corner. She went to the bedroom and returned with a sawed-off shotgun. She opened the door. \nShe pointed the gun at the figure before her. "Get off my porch," she said, "or I'll blow you across the expressway." The gang leader and his associates disappeared into the night. \nSome of Isiah's brothers indeed succumbed to the ravages of inner-city life, but, protected by other brothers and influenced greatly by his mother, whom he calls his role model, he never got involved with gangs or drugs. On the strength of his basketball talent, he received a scholarship to a suburban high school and traveled daily by train and bus for over an hour in the early morning to get there. He received a scholarship to Indiana and won an NCAA championship in his sophomore year under Bob Knight. \nKnight was infuriated that Thomas, the best player on his team, would consider turning pro; Knight has attempted to rewrite history and says he encouraged it. But Thomas was the No. 2 choice in the 1981 draft, and the Pistons signed the young man from Congress Street to a US$1 million contract. \nAt 6 feet 1 inch, Isiah Lord Thomas III, in his 13 pro seasons, became one of the greatest players in NBA history. He spearheaded the Pistons to back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. Behind that boyish smile was a killer instinct. \nHe could shoot, drive, pass, leap, lead, play injured. \nBut as willing and wise and wily as he is, he has gotten himself into hot water. \nWhen, for example, Dennis Rodman, then a rookie with the Pistons, said that the Boston Celtics' Larry Bird would be just another player if he were black, Thomas agreed. \nIn 2000, Thomas was named coach of the Pacers, replacing Bird, who no longer wanted the job. Before this season, Bird became the team's general manager, and one of his first acts was to fire Thomas, whose team had lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of his three seasons. \nWith his deep pockets, Thomas bought the Continental Basketball Association, which, after 55 years of existence, went out of business following two years of his leadership.
APPROPRIATE RESPONSE: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan expressed ‘sincere regret’ for publishing the image on its in-house magazine and Web site A satirical mock-up depicting the Tokyo Games logo as the novel coronavirus has been pulled from online after Olympic organizers branded it “insensitive” and said that it infringed copyright. The design combines the distinctive, spiky image of the coronavirus cell with the blue-and-white Tokyo Games logo. It appeared on the cover of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s magazine. The Tokyo Games have been postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and halted sport worldwide. Club president Khaldon Azhari yesterday said that the club had decided to withdraw the image and remove
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