In April 1994, Isiah Thomas retired from the game of basketball after he tore his Achilles tendon. Over a decade of dominance in the game, he walked home with the credit of Detroit’s all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and games played. In 1990, he was named the NBA Finals MVP, according to the NBA.
When the glow faded on his professional basketball career, he switched gears to pursue a career in the business world. Together with an investment partner, Isiah purchased a distressed printing company, American Speedy Printing Centers, in 1992. With a passion for success, he soon transformed the printing center into one of the four largest printing hubs in the U.S., according to ESPN.
Though Isiah hanged his boots to close his interest in ever playing in the game, he felt he had more to offer for the sustainability and growth of basketball, according to fadeaway world. In 1994, he was given the chance to begin the globalization of the basketball business in Canada with the Toronto Raptors.
This was his first international investment; which later became an eye-opener for his subsequent business operations. He was made co-owner and executive vice president of the Toronto Raptors. After attempts to buy the controlling interest in the team, Isiah decided to offload his shares, following a frosty relationship with the majority owner, Allan Slaight.
He diversified his interest to maintain his dominance as an entrepreneur; investing in chocolate bars and his most significant asset, Cheurlin Champagne.
When he turned his attention to impacting the game of basketball, Isiah took up a pole position as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, president, general manager, and head coach of the New York Knicks, and owner of the Continental Basketball Association. He also expanded his interest in the sport, taking up a position as the head men’s basketball coach at Florida International University.
In 1999, Isiah established Elighten Sports Inc., a full-service web development focused on sports marketing. He also pushed for partnerships with enlightening sports and the University of Colorado. The website gave basketball fans the opportunity to watch live games via webcasts, shot charts, and engagement with stars.
This fulfilled one of Isiah’s desires to expand engagement among fans and basketball teams. He pursued channels that humanized the game and scores to fans across the country and streamed videos of the matches.
As a result of his experience growing up in the projects, Isiah is actively involved in strengthening local communities. He supports activities that empower disadvantaged women and families out of poverty. One of his initiatives includes the Mary’s Court that uplifts the health, safety, and personal achievement of youth in local communities. Other initiatives have been geared toward campaigning against gang violence.