New York, NY - Isiah Thomas is back in New York. – New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Isiah Thomas is back in New York.
Thomas was named the president of the New York Liberty on Tuesday.
The Hall of Fame player will be responsible for the basketball and business operations of the WNBA franchise. He has also taken an ownership interest in the team.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the New York Liberty and help the franchise reclaim its position as one of the elite teams in the WNBA," said Thomas in a statement Tuesday.
Thomas has had a long history with Madison Square Garden Company executive chairman Jim Dolan. The two worked together when Thomas served as president, general manager and coach of the New York Knicks.
"In the fall, Isiah and I began discussions about a possible role for him with the Liberty," said Dolan. "Since that time, Isiah has been advising the team, and we are very pleased with the results. He has overseen the strengthening of our coaching staff, with the return of three-time WNBA champion head coach Bill Laimbeer and the hiring of Herb Williams as assistant coach, as well as our recent free agent signings, draft strategy, trade for Epiphanny Prince and the return of Liberty legend, Teresa Weatherspoon."
Thomas, an NCAA champion at Indiana and a two-time NBA champion as a point guard with the Detroit Pistons, oversaw the Knicks' operations from 2003-08.
"To me, basketball is basketball," Thomas added. "These women are outstanding athletes who want to compete for a championship in New York. I look forward to this challenge -- not just to win a title, but also to help broaden the team's fan base."
During his time with the Knicks, which included a coaching stint from 2006-08, the team never won more than 39 games and won fewer than 25 twice. Thomas' tenure in the front office was also marred by the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders.
Thomas was hired by Dolan as consultant for the Knicks in August 2010, but had to step away because he was the head coach at Florida International University. The NBA said his dual roles would have violated conflict of interest rules between collegiate and professional basketball.
FIU fired Thomas in April 2012 after three seasons and a record of 26-65.