Isiah Starts His FIU Career with Some Good Ol'-Fashioned Whining

Well, that didn't take long.

Ever since FIU shocked the basketball world earlier this year by landing Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas to coach its less than notable program, Riptide has been waiting for that first sweet whiff of the controversy that seems to follow Thomas wherever he walks.

Looks like he's obliging us well before he steps on the court for his first game with the Golden Panthers.

According to an ESPN report this morning, Isiah is threatening to pull the team out of the season-opening Coaches vs. Cancer Tourney because organizers have switched the schedule around to force FIU to play North Carolina instead of Ohio State in the opening match.

Listen, Isiah, may Riptide offer you a little free PR wisdom? 

When you whine about getting a tougher opponent than you wanted before the season even begins and make threats to take your team out of a tourney that -- at least according to its name -- is doing some good charity work to fight cancer, that doesn't make you look like a good dude.

It makes you look like a whiny little baby.

"Maybe in 2010, 2011 we can play North Carolina. But not this year," Thomas told ESPN.

What a great message to send your team! "Hey, guys, listen: I know we haven't even played a single game yet, but in my opinion, you suck so badly that I can't even allow you to share the floor with the defending national champs. They would rip your faces off and eat them for breakfast and then you'd all probably go home and cry for the rest of the year. Sorry."

Not that we're arguing that North Carolina wouldn't rip FIU's face off. But it's not like Ohio State is some Division II pansy convention.

Why is Thomas picking this fight?

Oh, right. When you've bankrupted a basketball league, driven a premier NBA franchise into the ground, sexually harassed an employee and subsequently lost $11.6 million in court, overdosed on sleeping pills and then allegedly tried to blame it on your 17-year-old daughter, sound judgment might not be your strongest resumé point.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink