Do you feel sorry for Isiah Thomas?

This is in IMHO instead of The Game Room, because it’s not really sports related–for the non-sporting types, in sum: Thomas, the former superstar player and super-suck General Manager, his life in (mostly self-inflicted) ruins, has taken (seemingly) a deliberate overdose of pharmaceuticals in what appears to be a suicide attempt (all the "seemingly"s are because this story is still breaking).

I’m conflicted: as a recovering chronic-depressive with suicidal ideations (none, thankfully in the last few decades) I understand better than most how little reality has to do with despair. But this is an extreme case, in that Thomas was paid millions upon millions of fuck-you money, which was fortunate for him because he’s one of the most reviled figures in sports now, certainly in the NYC area, where he would hear “fuck you” on every street he walks down, having made disastrous arrogant literally-criminal decisions that the Knicks’ long term, multi-million dollar commitment encouraged him to make. He’s the definition of “unemployable,” but he’s sitting on millions, set for a very comfortable life surrounded by trophies of his former stardom as a player-- and he feels terminally sorry for himself.

My attitude as a former Knicks fan (I turned on them during the Thomas era, not that I wasn’t pretty disgusted before that) is “Cry me a fucking river, asshole,” but as I say, I do understand that despair isn’t fully rational and that suicidal thoughts are best understood as a health problem and not a moral issue.

For non-hoops fans (which is what I’ve become, thanks to Thomas), think of the worst person you know: if she/he tried to kill her/himself, would you apply the same standards of judgment and compassion you apply to anyone else in that situation?

I’ve dealt with clinical depression, and my bipolar mother made numerous (unsuccessful) suicide attempts while I was growing up – so, no, I can’t wish that kind of pain on any human being.

Do I feel “sorry” for him? No, but I do feel compassion for him, and I hope he finds the help he needs.

Cripes, doesn’t this suicide attempt sort of prove that Isaiah WASN’T as “arrogant” as you insist? That he DID care how “reviled” he was? That it HURT receiving boos, hate mail and death threats?

And even if (wait, make that “Even though”) he was a terrible sports executive, how does that make him one of the “worst persons” I know? As fans, we don’t know a damn thing about Isaiah Thomas the human being- we only know the public figure.

He was very bad at his job. No argument. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a real human being with real feelings. MILLIONS of otherwise wonderful people are bad at their jobs. Some of them eventually get fired, and deservedly so. Aren’t they STILL entitled to be sad about it? Maybe they were trying their best, and their best just wasn’t good enough.

Isaiah did a lousy job, and he deserved to be fired long ago. But it seems pretty obvious that he was NOT just blithely collecting big paychecks and insouciantly putting bad teams together. He was TRYING to build a winning team, and just didn’t know how.

He’s not evil. Neither is Matt Millen. They deserved to get fired. They DON’T deserve to be pushed to the point of suicidal despair.

I feel bad for people who are in a bad way. His financial or superstar status don’t play into it.

We do know something about the sexual harrasser, don’t we? That came out in a public trial, and it kinda backed up most of my assumptions about his personal arrogance, self-centeredness, egotism gone wild, etc.

I don’t mind imputing some personal stuff when someone phrases things in a deliberately provocative way. To take another sports analogy, with a recently -fired NYC sports figure I despise, I wouldn’t have had a problem if Willie Randolph had phrased his outlook more modestly–say, as “I’ve been associated with a lot of winning teams, and I hope some those winning ways may rub off on the Mets while I’m their manager”-- but I take it as arrogant that a very similar statement was made in a boastful and arrogant manner --things like “I’m a winner, and I’m gonna make these guys into winners”-- that makes me feel I have some sense of Randolph’s character, and makes me happy he’s unemployed and hopefully unemployable.

Probably not, tho, because he hasn’t caused the series of trainwrecks Thomas’s post-playing career consists of. But I don’t think I’m wrong to make assumptions about someone’s character by extrapolating from his public remarks and deeds.

Twix–could you review the line between “feeling sorry” and “feeling compassion”? I get them all mixed up.

People can battle demons much worse than poverty. Money can’t buy happiness, just physical comfort.

I’m sure he’s already said to himself, “Why can’t you just be grateful for your wealth and trophies? Why are you always feeling sorry for yourself, you stupid fuck?”

Just so you know, such a sentiment makes a depressed person feel worse, not better.

I’m cynical enough to believe that he was just looking for some attention. Cry me a river.

Been there, felt that. As I say, I’m all conflicted on this one.

ETA: the latest news is that Thomas claims that his daughter, not him, was treated for the overdose. The police chief says he knows the difference between a teenaged girl and a middle aged man, and that he took a middle aged man to the ER. This doesn’t suggest a responsible or admirable citizen, either, trying to pin it (somehow) on his own daughter.

I do feel sorry for him, overall. As someone who was suicidally depressed for a good while, I can’t help but feel sorry for him, if he was indeed attempting suicide & wasn’t just taking pills recreationally or whatever else. It must be awful to have thousands of people profess hatred for you because you f’d up your job - even if you’re worth millions, even if you live in a mansion. I think most people have an ability to feel shame to some degree.

I also feel sorry for him if it’s true that he’s pinning the OD on his his kid; he’s gotta have something wrong with him to do that - whether it’s overwhelming fear, depression, or an inability to admit the truth to himself (or all/none of the above), I dunno. It’s a sad situation any way you slice it, and I think it’s misguided to assume that he can’t/shouldn’t be that sad & messed up because he’s made a fortune. I hope he gets help.

I’m not sure it’s a distinction that exists anywhere except in my own mind. It seems to me that feeling sorry for someone is a hierarchical emotion – I’m up here and I’ve got it all together, and I feel sorry for that poor asshole down there who doesn’t – whereas compassion is more egalitarian – I’m a human being, and you’re a human being, and I know what it feels like when life sucks that bad.

I does sound like he’s making it pretty damn difficult to feel compassion for him, though. Saying it was his daughter? Yikes.

Did he have a nervous breakdown when he was much younger? Or am I thinking of someone else? I know there was some young b-ball phenom who was supporting his family (mom, grandma and siblings) with his NBA salary, and started to get overwhelmed. Maybe it wasn’t Thomas, but I’m sure it happened.

If things are that bad for him that he tried to take his own life, sure, I feel sorry for him. But the current situation in which he attempts to pin this situation on his daughter is pretty horrible. First, even if it’s true, does she really need her name and mental situation plastered across the newspapers? Second, if it isn’t, which sounds more and more likely to be the case, considering the police reported that it was a 46-year old man who was transported, it’s a pretty despicable way of deflecting attention.

There’s all kinds of ways to spin this if it was indeed a desperate act by a depressed person, but saying it was a young woman’s situation, who until this point was probably fairly anonymous, just stinks.

Does Thomas deserve all of the scorn he’s received from the media and fans? Probably not, but he certainly didn’t handle his tenure as GM for the Knicks very well. He did an awful job, and still had time to involve himself in a number of embarrassing escapades with the franchise. At any point he could have sought assistance or brought someone in to help, but he seemed hell-bent on bringing the franchise crashing down. He actually had success with the Pacers as a coach and front-office person (I think), so surely he had to have seen that it wasn’t working in NY.

I kind of see him like Matt Millen, who just got the boot in Detroit. Surely these guys wake up in the morning and think, “I suck at my job. Maybe I should hire someone to help me suck less.” Or what’s wrong with saying, “This is probably a job better suited for someone else” and resigning? I guess sports guys are wired differently.

It really is awful that he attempted to blame his daughter. That may just be a sign of how sick he really is. Depression affects the judgment center of the brain. I feel very sorry for him.

Even when someone does this “just to get attention,” it is a sign of desperation and sickness and the person still needs help. And the same is true of the person who threatens suicide.

If the worst person in the world committed suicide I wouldn’t weep for them, but I would feel sorry for them/pity/compassion for the utter depths of misery that lead a person to take their own life.

However, this is being described as an “accidental” overdose and not an overt suicide attempt. Some of the new “sleep aids” (they seem loathe to call themselves “sleeping pills” even if that’s what they are) do have an odd quirk in some people: unconscious behavior. In some cases, this has led people to drive their cars while, essentially, asleep. Some people will, after taking these medications, get up, go to the refrigerator, and start eating and eating and eating… And, in some cases, they’ll take the pill, lie down, get up, take the pill, lie down, get up, take the pill — again and again. Which, of course, leads to an overdose. Fortunately, it’s damn hard to get a lethal dose of Ambien or Lunesta (though it is, of course, possible). I know of at least two other people who did the “take the pill, lie down, wake up in the hospital with no clue how you got there” routine but since they weren’t famous they never got in the news.

Which is not to say this man doesn’t have some severe problems. He does. It’s just not clear at this point if he’s truly suicidal or suffering from a drug side-effect.

As for pointing the finger at his daughter - the man is embarrassed. It’s a stupid move and makes him look ridiculous, but hey, like I said, he does have problems.

If he accidentally overdosed in the way you describe, then what evidence is there that he has some severe problems? I’ve seen no other news reports prior to this incident that indicated he had any kind of mental health issue.

If he does have clinical depression, fine, then, all of his actions are understandable.

But if he doesn’t, then claiming it was his daughter and not he who had to go to the emergency room is contemptible. And frankly, it fits his persona that he would do that; he’s always been a combination of pure arrogance and thorough incompetence, who destroyed one basketball league and one franchise in another league, who lost a huge sexual harassment suit shortly before leaving the Knicks.

Isiah Thomas is truly one of the worst, most loathesome people in professional sports. I say that and I’m not even an NBA or Knicks fan.

Any attempt of suicide is a call for help. Those with resolve just do it. There really is no middle ground. Threats are for intimidation.