Certainly, it's her word against his word, but if former Knicks marketing vice-president Anucha Browne Sanders is telling the truth, the disorganized management of the Knicks suddenly makes sense! Browne Sanders, who had filed a sexual harassment suit against Knicks President and coach Isiah Thomas after being fired last year, testified in Manhattan federal court yesterday. She made a number of spectacular claims: That Thomas frequently called her a "bitch" and a "ho," that he didn't care about his sponsors or fans, and even said that he was in love with her.
Browne Sanders said that Thomas didn't really care about trying to keep up the Knicks' community profile or season ticket holders. For instance, he allegedly said, "We're not going to do any more of these f-----g community event. I'm here to win f-----g basketball games." And when Browne Sanders asked him to personally sign letters to loyal season ticket holders, Thomas responded, "I don't give a f--- about these white people" (80% of season ticket holders are white). Plus she says Thomas would say, "Bitch, I don't give a f--- about the sponsors. Bitch, I don't give a f--- about ticket sales. That's your job," when she'd suggest that players do promotional events.
The Post details Browne Sanders' testimony about Thomas' declaration of love:
Thomas first pulled her aside at a Christmas party in 2004, and the two had joined in a basketball game called "horse," Sanders said.
That's when Thomas told her, "I figured out why we have problems. It's because we're so much alike. I'm in love with you. It's like the movie, 'Love and Basketball,' " Sanders said.
"I said, 'You're out of your mind,' " Sanders said. "I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I was just nervous."
Sometime later, Thomas called Sanders to a meeting in his office, purportedly to discuss staffing issues, closed the door and gave her a "big hug," she said.
"He said, 'You know I'm in love with you,' " Sanders recalled. "I said, 'Isiah, we just need to figure out a way to work together. Where else do you have an African-American president of the Garden, an African-American president of the team and an African-American vice president?'
"It is a tremendous message to minorities that this even exists," a teary-eyed Sanders recalled saying, clearing her throat as she struggled to repeat his response.
"I want to take you off-site for some private time," she said Thomas told her.
Thomas' lawyer said, ""We categorically deny the new set of unfounded and outrageous allegations made today in court. We look forward to our opportunity to present the facts." Browne Sanders has also sued Cablevision and Knicks owner James Dolan, who reportedly thought her demands for a $6-10 million settlement were a shakedown, hence the trial.
Photograph of Isiah Thomas arriving at the courthouse by Louis Lanzano/AP