Isiah Thomas

Scoop B: Hoops HOF’er Isiah Thomas explains developing business portfolio, mom’s influence, Black Lives Matters

Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas checked in with Scoop B Radio’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson. Press Play Below To Listen!

Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and two-time Detroit Pistons champion, Isiah Thomas has an eclectic body of work.

Known for his skill on the court during the Pistons’ “Bad Boy” era, Thomas is currently a television analyst at Turner Sports and is team President of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

Aside from hoops though, Thomas’ business portfolio is beyond dope. That portfolio includes a waste removal company, a popcorn company, a champagne brand and much more.

I recently chatted with Thomas on Scoop B Radio about a battery of topics including business, his Detroit Pistons scoring record and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: One of the things that I’ve always often marveled about you and I’ve shared this in the past. I said to you that you were Jason Kidd before Jason Kidd. You were able to platform your career, while you were playing in the league and you had a second life after. You know, you went into team ownership, team management, and you’re an entrepreneur. You own a popcorn company, you own if I’m not mistaken a garbage company. What was your thought process? Was there a person who mentored and told you what to do? Were you just a product of your environment? What made you take in that regard?

Isiah Thomas: I come from a generation, my mom and dad they always preached ownership and always starting your own business and always business minded, while also receiving education. That just what was taught to us growing up on the west side of Chicago and fortunately enough for me when I got into the NBA, I was around an owner at that time, Bill Davidson, who owned the Detroit Pistons and fortunately enough he let me into his inner circle. I was able to travel with him, become very friendly with him, see some of his business operations and business dealing internationally, and once I became president of the Players Association I just started to understand the business of basketball, and the business of sports better. My first acquisition, I came with a friend and mentor by the name of Rick Inatome. We purchased American Speedy Printing out of bankruptcy. We had over 600 quick print changes across the United States. Then I went on from there, and co-founded the the Toronto Raptors  and as you said I have a waste removal company and real estate in multi-family housing and also just started a champagne company. We important champagne from France; Carlipa and Cheurlin You know our first event was the Democratic National Invention; is actually where our champagne was displayed and launched. For more information go to www.cheurlin.com. That’s Cheurlin.com. It’s a family of champagne makers, that has been making champagne since 1788. And I’m proud to introduce this product to the United States.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Isaiah Thomas, the Detroit Pistons’ all time leading scorer. Do you think anybody is going to beat your scoring record with the Pistons?

Isiah Thomas: I hope so. I think that when you have records you have standards, you hope there is another generation along behind you, and sets the bar even higher. The better you can be yourself and the harder you make it for the next generation to achieve those standards, the better the sport becomes, the better society becomes.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: This question is layered. Obviously WNBA players, particular on your team,  they were in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. You have been outspoken during your playing career;  you actually staged a march, protest if you will… not a protest, but you marched throughout the neighborhoods of inner city Detroit. Kind of just trying to get in to the root of the problem which was violence. Was that hard for you to do? Were you accepted? Were you scared? Walk me back through that.

Isiah Thomas: It really wasn’t frightening at all. If you understand my background, you know our family business i s activism and started with my mother. And the first march I participated in when I was seven years old, I marched with my mother in 1968, because she didn’t have a babysitter and she took all her kids with her in Chicago. So, you know, that’s kind of the environment that I come from and when I first got to Detroit, so many of our neighborhoods and so many of our communities are plagued with violence and drugs and weapons. And what I wanted to do with the mayor at that time of Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young. He and myself were able to bring all of the communities together and have a march down Wentworth Avenue. Black and white, young and old and we were all against all and had one common enemy and that was violence and crime in our community.

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