Broken, Bitter Isiah Thomas Still Loves The Game

Loves basketball. Wants to be in it forever. Not so much love for his once and future rivals, Jordan, Bird, Magic.

"I have no problem saying this at all," he says. "They're all 6-(feet)-9 and Jordan was 6-6 and a half. If they were all 6-1, it wouldn't even be a question. They wouldn't even fucking rate. If they were all my size, shit, they wouldn't even be talked about.

"I beat the shit out of them when they were that big. If we were all the same size, fuck." He stops to laugh good-naturedly. "Make them 6-1 and let's go on the court."

Those are the money quotes that are going to get replayed from this lengthy profile of Isiah Thomas. But it's a fascinating snapshot of Thomas at this exact place and time, a legend somewhat dimmed, but never humbled.

He wants back in the NBA, even though his reasons for the exile lean more toward conspiracy theory than acknowledging his own failures. He's easy to forget, way down south there at FIU, only popping back up on our radars as a bogeyman for Knicks fans' worst fears. But he's embracing his outsiderdom, or at least he claims to be.

"In basketball, there's always a good guy and a bad guy," Thomas says. "And everybody can't wear a white hat. And when they embrace the black hat, they'll be all right...I wear the black hat."

That's cool. Wear that black hat. Just stay out of the glare of the spotlight, if you would.

For Isiah, NBA exile isn't easy [FOX Sports]