Former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was taken to the hospital early this morning because he overdosed on sleeping pills at his Westchester home, authorities said.
When reached on his cell phone today, Thomas, 47, denied those claims and inexplicably insisted that it was his 17-year-old daughter Lauren who was the one having an issue but it "wasn't an overdose."
"My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK," he told The Post.
Thomas said there was an "incident" that occurred Thursday at Rye Country Day school - where the 6-foot tall senior also plays hoops." He oddly wouldn't be more specific and told a reporter to call the school to see if they would give details.
Harrison police, however, confirmed it was Thomas who was the one taken to White Plains Hospital Center after cops and an ambulance were summoned to his Purchase home after midnight following a 911 call.
Barry Watkins, a spokesman for Madison Square Garden, declined to comment, only to say, "Isiah is fine."
He said the incident was a family matter, without elaborating.
His daughter? Say wha?
The preceding post was brought to you by the letter K and the number 22. kedzie.net
NEW YORK -- A suburban police chief likened the conflicting accounts of an accidental overdose at Isiah Thomas' home to a "cover-up" and rebuked the former New York Knicks coach Saturday for saying it was his teenage daughter who required treatment.
Why they're throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand. -- David Hall, Harrison Police Chief
"It wasn't his daughter," Harrison Police Chief David Hall told The Associated Press. "And why they're throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand."
Authorities were called early Friday to Thomas' Westchester County home, where police said a 47-year-old man was taken to the hospital and treated for an overdose of sleeping pills. Several media outlets reported that police confirmed it was Thomas who went to the hospital.
But reached on his cell phone Friday, the 47-year-old NBA great told the New York Post he had not been treated for a sleeping pill overdose, and that it was 17-year-old daughter Lauren who had a medical issue.
It "wasn't an overdose," he told the newspaper. "My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK."
Hall forcefully refuted Thomas' statement.
"My cops ... know the difference between a 47-year-old black male and a young black female," Hall said.
"These people should learn something from Richard Nixon -- it's not the crime, it's the cover-up," he added.
Voice mails and text messages from the AP were left on Thomas' cell phone Saturday. Messages left earlier with Thomas' publicist and two of his attorneys were not returned.
No suicide note was found, and police were classifying the case as an "accidental drug overdose" on "a number" of prescription sleeping pills, Hall said.
Hall would not confirm the identity of the hospitalized man.
Thomas' 20-year-old son, Joshua, also said it was his sister, not his father, who required treatment.
"He's fine," the Indiana University student told the New York Daily News. "Reports of sleeping pills are false."
The developments, days before the start of another season, are the latest drama in what has been a difficult year for Thomas.
He was fired as Knicks coach April 18 after a season of dreadful basketball, a tawdry sexual harassment lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding his dismissal. Still, he was retained by the organization as an adviser and consultant.
"Isiah Thomas spoke with members of the New York Knicks organization and is OK," the Knicks said in a statement. "He is dealing with a family matter, and we will have no further comment. He has asked that we respect his privacy, and we will."
An ambulance and two police officers responded to a 911 call that came in from the Thomas home a couple minutes after midnight, Hall said. The victim was taken about 5 miles from the home to White Plains Hospital Center, where officials declined to identify the overdose patient.
Thomas' house is on a luxury cul de sac of multimillion-dollar homes, about 30 miles from midtown Manhattan.
As a player, Thomas won NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990 and an NCAA championship with Indiana in 1981. He joined the Knicks as the team president in 2003 and became coach in June 2006 after Larry Brown was fired.
Last season, Thomas drew the wrath of fans, who serenaded him nightly with chants of "Fire Isiah!" When he was dismissed, his record in New York was 56-108. Overall, he is 187-223 as an NBA coach, leading the Indiana Pacers to the playoffs in three straight years from 2000-03.
I really hope Isiah isn't lying here to cover his ass by using his daughter here.
My hatred of ESPN has sunk to almost unfathomable depths these days, but I must give them credit for yesterday, and the innovation represented by their "Full Circle" coverage of the Bulls-Heat game. This is the future of sports broadcasting.