Isiah: Daughter rushed to hospital; police refute claim, say 'he's lying'

Updated: October 25, 2008, 12:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- A 47-year-old man was taken from the suburban home of former New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas to the hospital and treated for an accidental overdose of sleeping pills early Friday, police said.

Police would not identify the victim, except to give his age. Thomas is 47.

Citing unnamed sources, the New York Post and The New York Times reported the victim was Thomas.

Thomas, according to a report in the Post, denied he was the person taken to the hospital, saying it was his daughter, but that "it wasn't an overdose."

"My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK," he told the Post.

Harrison Police Chief David Hall said the case was not a suicide attempt.

Hall would not confirm or deny the identity of the person. But on Friday night, Hall refuted Thomas' claims to the Post.

Sean O'Hair

Reports of sleeping pills are false. He doesn't take sleeping pills. He doesn't really take anything that's not organic.

-- Isiah Thomas' son Joshua, to the New York Daily News

"I understand that this person claims it was his daughter; he is lying," Hall told The Times. "It was definitely not his daughter, it was a male. We know the difference between a 47-year-old black male and a young black female."

According to the Post, Thomas referred to a Thursday "incident" at Rye Country Day high school, where Lauren, his 6-foot tall daughter, is a senior and plays basketball.

He declined to elaborate, the Post reported, and requested the newspaper contact the school for details.

"I can tell you that the prescription pills involved were Lunesta," Hall told ESPN.com's Henry Abbott. "There were two other people in the house, one of whom had called 911. I don't know if it was a housekeeper or who it was, but it was not Isiah Thomas' wife. When we got there, the person was unconscious, but breathing.

"We administered oxygen, and then when the ambulance arrived they transported the person to White Plains hospital."

Hall told the New York Daily News the victim had taken 10 pills.

"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."

The Daily News reported Thomas' 20-year-old son, Joshua, also said the the issue surrounded his sister, Lauren, who suffers from hypoglycemia and who was feeling ill.

TrueHoop: Confusion Reigns

Reports of an ambulance taking a person from Isiah Thomas' home to the hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills still differ widely as to what happened, writes Henry Abbott. Hopefully we'll get some clarity soon. Blog

"He's fine," Joshua Thomas said of his father, according to the Daily News.

"Reports of sleeping pills are false," Joshua added. "He doesn't take sleeping pills. He doesn't really take anything that's not organic."

Joshua Thomas told the Daily News his father and sister were resting at a hospital.

"He looked faint from stressing over her," Joshua said, according to the newspaper. "They sat him down, let him drink some water. He's fine."

Messages left with Thomas' publicist and two of his attorneys by The Associated Press weren't returned.

Hall said an ambulance and two police officers responded to a 911 call that came in from the Thomas home a couple minutes after midnight. The victim was taken to White Plains Hospital Center, about five miles from the home in Purchase, N.Y.

Hospital officials there would not say whether Thomas was a patient, or identify the overdose patient, according to the AP. And officials with Harrison's Emergency Medical Service declined to say what happened, citing medical privacy laws.

"There's a concern, I'm sure everybody I would think is wishing for the best for his family but again ... I don't really know a whole lot," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Late Friday afternoon, a small SUV escorted by a police car pulled into a private road leading to the luxury development in Westchester County where Thomas lives, about 30 miles from midtown Manhattan.

Thomas purchased the house on Azalea Circle in Purchase for more than $4 million in 2004, according to the Journal News.

He was fired as the Knicks coach on 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 to Donnie Walsh -- who had replaced him as president as basketball operations.

Walsh said he had not spoken to Thomas, though others in the organization had.

Thomas was serenaded nightly last season with Garden 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.

Thomas was hired as the Knicks' team president on Dec. 22, 2003. The Knicks made the playoffs that season, getting swept by New Jersey, but haven't gone back despite their high-paid lineup.

But Garden chairman James Dolan remained confident in Thomas, making him coach in June 2006 after firing Larry Brown following one season.

As a player, Thomas was one of the NBA's great point guards, winning NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990. In college, he led Indiana to a national championship in 1981.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.