First, I would like to congratulate Isiah Thomas for finding his new job as head basketball coach of Florida International University. With today’s economy, finding any job is an accomplishment.
That said, how someone loathed by millions of New Yorkers could think taking a job in South Florida would allow them to get a fresh start is completely beyond me. That’s like Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney thinking they would disappear into anonymity by getting a teaching gig at Berkeley. Although no one ever said Isiah was smart, taking the job at FIU is almost as dumb as giving millions to perennial NBA Least Valuable Player Jerome James. Almost.
For those who don’t know, Florida is the home of more than a few ex-New Yorkers. Through my own personal experience of over 20 years in the state, my guess is that there are more New Yorkers in Florida than Cubans, mosquitoes, and alligators combined. According to the New York Times,
“New York is the leading domestic source of migrants to Florida. In 2005, about 100,000 New Yorkers moved to Florida and 25,000 Floridians moved to New York. Two years later, those numbers dropped to fewer than 60,000 New Yorkers’ moving to Florida and 32,000 Floridians’ moving to New York.”
That means, in 2005 and 2006 alone, at least 160,000 New Yorkers migrated down to Florida. Add to this the fact that 13.1% of snowbirds come from New York.
According to the University of Florida News,
“about 920,000 temporary residents called the Sunshine State home during the peak winter months compared with 170,000 during the late summer.
Most temporary residents migrated to counties in the southern part of the state. Lee County, in southwest Florida where Fort Myers is located, had the most temporary residents, followed by Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Collier, Broward, Polk, Pinellas, Sarasota, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.” (emphasis added)
I have to second Chas Rich of Fanhouse.com’s statement that “there will be a contingent of Knicks fans that will attend FIU games now just to chant ‘Fire Isiah!’ and worse for old times sake”.
Millions of transplanted New York basketball fans have been waiting for the opportunity to jeer Isiah for what he did for their favorite team. Now they get their chance. I wonder if FIU’s security will enact certain rules regulating fan behavior. If they don’t, until the Knicks become respectable again, neither Isiah nor his new basketball program stand a chance.
For those curious, yes, I am going to try and make the trip at least once. Probably wearing one of these: