Born: April 30, 1961
Birthplace: Tacoma, WA
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Career and Life
Isiah Lord Thomas III is an American former basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). A point guard, the 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas has also been a professional and collegiate head coach, a basketball executive, and a broadcaster.
Thomas played collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers, leading them to the 1981 NCAA championship as a sophomore and declaring for the NBA draft. He was taken as the second overall pick by the Pistons in the 1981 NBA draft, and played for them his entire career, while leading the "Bad Boys" to the 1988–89 and 1989–90 NBA championships.
After his playing career, he was an executive with the Toronto Raptors, a television commentator, an executive with the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and an executive and head coach for the New York Knicks. He was later the men's basketball coach for the Florida International University (FIU) Golden Panthers for three seasons from 2009 to 2012. In early May 2015, amidst controversy, Thomas was named president and part owner of the Knicks' WNBA sister team, the New York Liberty, subsequent to the re-hiring of Thomas's former Pistons teammate, Bill Laimbeer, as the team's coach.
Isiah Lord Thomas III was the son of Isiah II and Mary Thomas, the youngest of seven boys and two girls. Isiah's father was an army veteran wounded in the Battle of Saipan. He later attended trade school, eventually becoming the first black supervisor at International Harvester in Chicago. When the plant closed, the only work he could find was as a janitor and the family fell into hardship and Isiah II left when Isiah was a young child. Thomas grew up in the heart of Chicago's West Side ghetto. After his parents' separation, he lived with his mother. Born a Baptist, Mary turned the family toward Catholicism.
Thomas was a basketball prodigy from age three and was tutored by his older brothers, some of whom were good players in their own right. Although most coaches in the Chicago area considered him too small to have any significant impact on a basketball program, Thomas's brothers persuaded coach Gene Pingatore of St. Joseph High School to arrange a sports scholarship for Isiah.
Thomas met his future wife, Lynn Kendall, the daughter of a Secret Service agent and a nurse, in the early 1980s while they were both attending Indiana University. The couple married in 1985.
Thomas graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in 1987. Isiah Thomas and Lynn Kendall had a son, Joshua, in 1988, and a daughter, Lauren, in 1991. Thomas has a third son from an earlier liaison, Marc Dones, born in 1986.
Thomas founded Isiah International LLC, an investment holdings company with Thomas as Chairman and CEO. It runs five companies: Isiah Real Estate, a development firm specializing in commercial properties; TAND Properties, a property management firm, private equity and asset management firm; Isiah Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations; and GRE3N Waste Removal. Thomas also co-owns the waste removal's sister company, RE3 Recycling, with his daughter, Lauren Thomas.
Isiah Thomas was involved in allegations about gambling, an accusation outlined in the 1997 book Money Players.