ISIAH International, LLC

1017 West Washington, Suite 3F | Chicago, IL 60607

P (312) 929-2699

Isiah Thomas

CEO & Chairman

Born and raised on Chicago’s West Side, Isiah Lord Thomas III’s professional career spans more than three decades in business and sports. Thomas has garnered worldwide attention for his contributions in all levels of professional basketball, including induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, and for his successful business initiatives and philanthropic endeavors.

 

Thomas is a NBA Hall of Fame point guard, who spent his entire playing career with the Detroit Pistons. With the Pistons, Thomas helped lead Detroit to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1988-89 and 1989-90, was a 12-time NBA All-Star and was later named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time team. While a Detroit Piston, Thomas was a player representative for the National Basketball Players Association and went on to serve as Vice President. In 1988, the NBA players elected Thomas to serve as President of the NBPA, where he served through 1994.  During his NBPA tenure from 1988-1994, he helped establish four historic Collective Bargaining Agreements and pushed to raise the average NBA player’s salary, which increased from $300,000 to $1.8 million.  He also used his keen knowledge of marketing to help guide the expansion of the NBA into a multi-billion dollar industry.

 

Following his retirement from the NBA, Thomas took a front office position as part owner and Executive Vice President of the Toronto Raptors expansion team.  He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, President, General Manager and Head Coach of the New York Knicks and was owner of the Continental Basketball Association. He also served as the head men's basketball coach at Florida International University.

 

An innovator and entrepreneur, Thomas founded Enlighten Sports Inc., a full-service web development group specializing in sports marketing in 1999. When at the Continental Basketball Association, Thomas launched partnerships with Enlighten Sports and the University of Colorado and the CBA. The new websites allowed fans to watch live game webcasts, use live shot charts, chat with players and more. Thomas said the internet was “an integral part of [the CBA’s] strategy to provide engaging and entertaining content for fans.” Also, while Thomas was with the Continental Basketball Association he launched a partnership with SEASONTICKET.com to bring personalized video highlights and scores to fans across the country as well as be a portal for All-Star League voting. With Thomas’ foresight, he realized that streaming video would be the future of news and entertainment.

 

Thomas began his business career mid-way through his NBA tenure. In his free time, he read up on business and related issues, met with contacts and eventually invested in a series of ventures, including a large chain of printing franchises, American Speedy Printing. As his business mentor and partner Rick Inatome explained, “He’s the definitive study of ‘picture it and it becomes’” — a motto Thomas continues to bring to all of his business ventures.

 

As Chairman and CEO of Isiah International, Thomas successfully applies that spirit to the business world, having built companies that specialize in waste removal & recycling, multi-family housing, and the sports industries. Thomas is also the sole owner of four companies: Isiah International Holdings, an investment holdings company, GRE3N Waste Removal, Isiah International Real Estate, a multi-housing development firm, and Isiah Capital, a private equity investment firm. Thomas also co-owns the waste removal’s sister company, RE3 Recycling, with his daughter, Lauren. Most recently, Thomas is also involved in a $300 million development deal for a mixed-use complex on 9.5 acres of land at the Illinois Medical District Commission.

 

Thomas’ philanthropic work is anchored to strengthening communities.  Inspired by his mother’s work to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and families, Thomas founded Mary’s Court in her honor to support the health, safety and personal achievement of Chicago’s youth and youth around the country. With Father Michael Pfleger, Thomas launched the Peace Basketball Tournaments to reduce gang violence through communication and basketball. Thomas, in partnership with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, started a fundraising campaign to expand the Windy City Hoops program in ten park districts, offering a safe haven to kids and families. In 2013, Thomas was appointed by Mayor Emanuel to serve on the Public Safety Action Committee (now called Get In Chicago), an effort to raise and invest $50 million of privately-funded investments in programs to reduce violence.

 

Along with the talented and highly acclaimed actor, Robert Townsend, Isiah worked as the Executive Producer of “Playin’ for Love,” a romantic comedy film about life on and off of the basketball court starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jenifer Lewis, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Esai Morales and was shot on location in Overtown, one of Miami’s roughest neighborhoods. Due to Isiah’s continued work in the community, upon connecting with Townsend for this film, they received many corporate and community sponsorships not limited to the Miami Heat, NBA star Dwayne Wade, Jamba Juice, Connor Sports and American Federation of Teachers.

In May 2015, Thomas was appointed Team President of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, overseeing all aspects of business and basketball operations for the franchise.

 

Isiah Lord Thomas III was born in Chicago, Illinois as the youngest of nine children raised by his mother, Mary Thomas. His mother’s courage and conviction continues to inspire his philanthropic work. Thomas has two children and currently lives with his wife, college sweetheart of 31 years, Lynn Kendall, in New York.

 

Thomas is currently an analyst for NBATV and a regular contributor to NBA.com.

Education

 

Master of Education: University of California at Berkeley

Focus: Cultural Studies of Sports in Education

 

Bachelor of Arts: Indiana University

Focus: Criminal Justice

2013

 

 

 

1987

Career Highlights

 

•    2nd overall draft pick by the Detroit Pistons

•    2X NBA Champion

•    NBA Finals MVP

•    12X NBA All-Star

•    2X NBA All-Star Game MVP

•    3X All-NBA First Team

•    2X All-NBA Second Team

•    President of the NBPA

•    NBA All-Rookie First Team

•    One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History

•    Inducted into Hall of Fame (First Year of Eligibility)

•   No. 11 Retired by the Detroit Pistons

 

 

Commercial Initiatives: Entrepreneurship

 

•   Gateway Partners, Partner

•   Isiah International, Chairman & CEO

•   Mary’s Court Foundation, Founder

•   Continental Basketball Assoc., Owner & Managing Member

•   Chicago Stock Exchange, Board of Governors

•   Toronto Raptors, Minority Owner & Executive Vice President

•   American Speedy Printing, Co-Chairman

•   Wall Street Project’s Sports Task Force, Chairman

•   Sweetgreen, Founding Investor

•   Popcorn Indiana, Co-Founder

•   Investor: Pasha’s Restaurant & Southern Hospitality BBQ

 

 

 

 

1981-1984

1989-1990

1990

1982-1993

1984, 1986

1984, 1986

1983, 1987

1988-1994

1987

2000

2000

2000

Professional Experience

 

• Isiah International, LLC, Chairman and CEO

• NBATV, Analyst & NBA.com, Columnist

• New York Liberty (WNBA), President

• Gateway Partners, Partner

• Get in Chicago, Board Member

• Playin’ for Love, Executive Producer

• Mary’s Court Foundation, Founder

• Florida International University, Head Coach

• New York Knicks

       • General Manager

       • President of Basketball Operations

       • Head Coach

• NBC TV Analyst

• Toronto Raptors, Minority Owner & Executive Vice President

       • Raptors Board of Governors

• Continental Basketball Association, Owner

• Indiana Pacers, Head Coach

• National Basketball Players Association

       • Player Representative

       • Vice President

       • President

Present

Present

Present

2014-Present

2013-Present

2012

2010-Present

2009-2011

2003-2008

 

 

2006-2008

1997-2000

1994-1998

 

1998-2001

2000-2003

1983-1994

1983-1984

1985-1987

1988-1994

2014-present

2011-present

2010-present

1998-2001

1999-2002

1994-1998

1993-1996

2000

2007

2002

2010

  • Street Naming: “Isiah Thomas Boulevard,” by IL General Assembly

  • Leadership Award, DC Price Hall Freemason and Eastern Star Charitable Foundation

  • All-Star of Giving, Givkwik

  • Education for a Better America Community Award, National Action Network

  • Micah Award, US Representative Bobby Rush

  • Children Uniting Nations, Lifetime Achievement Award

           With special recognition from President Clinton

  • King Legacy Award, MLK Boys & Girls Club of Chicago

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Rainbow PUSH

  • Courage and Perseverance Award, Rainbow PUSH

  • First African American to sit on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Stock Exchange

  • J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

  • First NBA Player on the cover of Forbes

 

2015

2015

2014

2013

2013

2012

 

2012

2011

2010

1999

1996

1994

Awards and Accomplishments