- Posted: 1:15 PM, October 9, 2011
This was a strong image-building night for Thomas, to promote his school, his new charity in his mother's name and his influence on NBA players as he looks to get back in the NBA, preferably with the Knicks.
Thomas staged a press conference before tip-off with Miami's Big 3. Wade said he was “honored’’ to be up on a podium alongside “one of the greatest players to play the game.’’ Wade was talking about Isiah, not LeBron James.
Thomas finally created an excitement on his campus instead of just in the media. It turned into a really good show, with Anthony and Stoudemire becoming late-game heroes. Anthony sent the game into overtime with a game-tying trey with two seconds left and Stoudemire powered the club in the final minute of overtime with five points for the victorious Team Wade.
The sight of more than 1,000 FIU students in line 200 yards long in the pouring rain 2 1/2 hours before tip-off was more than impressive in this otherwise lousy sports town. The game was a sell-out, 4,000 strong, and maybe it will be a carryover to the FIU season. Thomas has failed to draw more than 1,000 fans in his two seasons.
Wade and James each talked about their happiness to help Thomas and the charity "Mary's Court'', which helps kids in poverty with education. Thomas stood after the press conference with Michael Casserly, the prominent executive director of the Great City Schools in Washington D.C., and spoke for nearly 25 minutes about the charity. It stirred memories of when Thomas, for two seasons, wore a blue pin on the breast of his suit jacket - the symbol of "Autism Speaks'' - when with the Knicks.
Thomas' brothers and sister, Ruby, were on hand at FIU for support. They so wish his tenure with the Knicks was viewed in a different light in New York and we all know the slanted coverage of that harassment trial overshadowed everything.
It was good to see Thomas in a favorable light for a change. Too many view Thomas as the unseemly, meddling figure behind the scenes plotting to one day regain the Knicks presidency. Thomas is better than that.