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Kurt Thomas' greatest hits

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 11, 2010 11:13 AM

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Knicks vs. Lakers (1999)

When she covered the Knicks for the New York Times, Selena Roberts wrote a couple stories about Thomas. One was when the Knicks had a job opening left by their previous team bouncer Charles Oakley. Another was after Thomas had taken the job.

New York Times, Feb. 3, 1999

''Kurt's the guy who seems to be knocking everyone down and hacking a lot,'' Latrell Sprewell said after the Knicks' last practice at Island Garden today. ''He's the banger and the bruiser. He's sort of taken Oakley's place. I know Oakley used to be the one who would hit guys and bang guys coming down the lane. That seems to be Kurt's role right now.''

It's a dirty job, and Oakley perfected it. But in Thomas, Coach Jeff Van Gundy sees an Oakleylike nasty streak. Thomas developed this edgier side under Heat Coach Pat Riley three years ago ...

" ... 'Basically, I'm a good person out there until you tick me off,'' said Thomas, who was traded from Miami to the Mavericks in 1997 before signing as a free agent with the Knicks for the $1.75 million exception. ''If you mess with me, I'll mess with you. If you want to push and shove and throw elbows, I can do that, too.

''I'm not Charles Oakley; I'm Kurt Thomas. I believe I can do some of the things he did on the floor. He could hit the 18-foot jumper, and I believe I can fill that role. He was a great rebounder, and I feel I can rebound the ball. When I first got here, the question was: With Charles Oakley being gone, are the Knicks a different type of team? My job is to be physical on the floor. If that means knocking a person coming down the lane, I'll have to bop them.''

New York Times, Dec. 28, 1999

On the same day his teammates preached tolerance to him, his coach discussed restraint with him and the league handed him a penalty for instigating a fight with Indiana's Jalen Rose on Saturday night, Knicks forward Kurt Thomas was still fuming today as he all but trampled on olive branches.

He couldn't help himself as he unleashed a barrage of insults aimed at Rose and Reggie Miller, and then kicked a chair for emphasis before he left practice. Inflaming an already nasty rivalry with the Pacers, Thomas called Rose a ''little punk'' and profanely referred to Miller as a crybaby two days after a third-quarter fight in the Christmas Day game.

After Rod Thorn, the National Basketball Association vice president who is the league's disciplinarian, finished a review of the game tapes today, Thomas was fined $10,000 and suspended for two games for deliberately running into Rose at midcourt and subsequently elbowing and punching him in the head. Thomas, who is averaging 9.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 26.5 minutes a game, will miss games against the Nets on Tuesday and Washington on Thursday and will lose $50,000 of his $2.25 million salary for his two-game absence.

There was also that scene in "Kobe Doin' Work" where Bryant was being annoying was talking trash to Thomas during some free throws. Bryant said he loves playing against Thomas because he's knows he's going to catch a couple dirty plays.

Kobe Doin' Work (2009)

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