posted: Jan. 17, 2006  |  Feedback

Up until this month, my list of top-10 career highlights looked like this:

1. Went to the Pats-Rams Super Bowl, sat in the same end zone where Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal landed, got relatively drunk on Bourbon Street, handed in a column read by tons of people.

2. Made fun of contestants on "Real World/Road Rules Challenge," provoked angry Internet response from Theo.

3. Went to Games 4 and 5 of the 2004 ALCS, stayed up until 5:30 a.m. writing about it, ended up with a column read by tons of people.

4. Convinced Luke Perry in the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" green room to reenact the scene where his dad on "90210" was blown up.

5. Once provoked Elgin Baylor to say the words, "That guy's an [rhymes with bassbowl]."

6. Nearly completed fantasy baseball trade on cell phone while walking down ESPYs red carpet.

7. Broke news of Celtics-Lakers trade involving Gary Payton and Chris Mihm, then sent taunting e-mail to Ric Bucher.

8. Appeared on the "Rome is Burning" forum with Roger Lodge.

9. Wrote a book that new Sox second baseman Mark Loretta admitted reading in NESN interview last month.

10. During the 2005 NBA All-Star Weekend, I was recognized by the members of Kyle Korver's posse, who then bought me a drink.

Well, now I have a new career highlight: During a New York radio interview Monday, Isiah Thomas threatened to make trouble for me. Talking to Stephen A. Smith he said, "I'm gonna tell ya ... if I see this guy Bill Simmons, oh, it's gonna be a problem with me and him ..." I thought it was ironic he threatened me on Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- I'm sure MLK would have been proud. Given that this was the same guy who sucker-punched his best friend on the Pistons (Bill Laimbeer) during the 1992 season, I am thinking about travelling with a full-time bodyguard, or at the very least a can of mace or one of those tasers that you can get in a stalker catalog.

Here's my question for Isiah, who's very angry with me ...

Right now, you have a roster that costs something like $120 million. You completely overhauled the Knicks' roster in 14 months, and now you're trying to overhaul it again. There's no rhyme or reason to anything you're doing. Your team doesn't have a first-round pick next summer, and in the summer of 2007 -- widely considered to be the deepest draft in 20-plus years -- the Bulls have the right to exchange first-round picks with you (most of your fans don't even know this). You also have to give another first-round pick to Phoenix before 2010. And you have at least eight or nine players on your roster who are completely, utterly, totally untradable, including someone with a possible heart defect and someone whose back is in such bad shape nobody would insure his contract. Your team also has one of the worst records in the league. And your fans are downright traumatized at this point, to the degree that you went into hiding until your recent winning streak. Now you're available to talk to the press again, of course.

So why shouldn't you be criticized for any of this? Why should you be immune? Why should the fact that you destroyed the CBA, then coached an underachieving Pacers team that came within two possessions of making the 2004 Finals one year after you left ... why isn't this relevant in some way? I would love to know the answer to this. So either you can e-mail me, have one of your PR people call me to explain it, or tell me as while you're making trouble for me on the street.

Or, I can fly to New York and we can have a dignified conversation about this stuff. Followed by you beating the living hell out of me.

It's up to you.

And just for the record, in the summer of 2004, I wrote a nice column about you and your old Pistons team; maybe you missed it. So I couldn't really be "out to get you," right? You're a public figure. When you screw up, people are going to write about it. Get over yourself.

Anyway, here are the e-mails about the interview we received Monday:

I'm just praying that I'm the first person to send you this even though it's possible thousands have already in the five minutes since the moment. Stephen A. Smith was interviewing Isiah Thomas on 1050 ESPN Radio New York, and Isiah was complimenting Stephen A. on not crossing the line by insulting players personally while critiquing them. So they went on about the ethics of it, and then Isiah said that if he ever saw Bill Simmons on the street, there would be a problem for you two. Too bad there's no TiVo for AM radio, because that would be save until I delete status. So how does it feel to be called out by Isiah Thomas? Maybe you're one step closer to playing for the Knicks now, assuming that he naturally confuses you in a couple days with Shaq.

P.S. Stephen A. responded by asking "who?"
-- Jeremy, New York

Just an FYI, on Stephen A. Smith's ESPN (1050 AM, NY) radio show, Isiah Thomas just ranted about sportswriters without any athletic ability making personal attacks on athletes. He went so far as to say that if he were to meet you, Bill Simmons, on the street, there would be a problem. Maybe you should watch your back. Just wondering, you have the Clippers GM and the Knicks GM who want to meet you in an alley, alone. Anyone else?
-- Alex, Kearny, N.J.

Sports Guy, I think you'd like to know that Isiah Thomas is planning to take revenge on you. Today on the Stephen A. Smith show on ESPN Radio here in New York, Thomas said if "I ever meet this guy Bill Simmons, it won't be good for him." In other words, I think he's planning on signing you.
-- Dan Goodman, New York

Don't know if you've heard about this yet, but Isiah Thomas was on Stephen A. Smith's radio show this morning on 1050 AM in NY with Oscar Robertson. I only caught the tail end of it, but I believe it was a discussion centering around MLK day. Again, don't know the context, but at the end of the interview, Isiah called out and said that there would be problems if he saw "this Bill Simmons" on the street. Stephen A. Smith said that he didn't know who you were.
-- Nick, New Jersey

Isiah just called you out. I was listening to ESPN radio out of NYC and they had Isiah, Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson on for MLK day on the Stephen A. Smith show. Isiah was talking about how the media decided how to present you, and that's what type of legacy you have. He then said it's OK to knock a guy's skills or the way he plays the game and that players understand that. If you get personal then there's trouble. He then said that if he ever sees Bill Simmons, there will be trouble. Out of the blue ... calling you out. I guess it's OK to knock a guy's on-court skills, but don't dare present the facts to knock his GM ability.
-- Rob O, Neptune, N.J.

In the midst of the Stephen A. Smith show on Martin Luther King Day, the GM of the "surging" Knicks calls you out and wants to meet you on some street corner, yada, yada, yada. ... That's right, Isiah doesn't have bigger things to worry about. The Knicks are now 13-23 in the midst of four games in five days, including yesterday's brutal display at Toronto and the champs coming to town on Thursday, but he specifically mentions you during a phone interview. Shouldn't he be more focused on improving the Knicks?
-- Drew, Summit, N.J.

Monday on the Stephen A. Smith radio show, Isiah Thomas called you out. To paraphrase, he mentioned your name and said you'd be in trouble if you guys ever were to meet. The topic was the lack of black editors in the print media and Zeke brought up your name. I am not sure if the Stephen A. Smith show is nationally syndicated or if it is just a show for metro NYC area. Try to listen to the interview. It was with Zeke, Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson celebrating MLK day. Good Stuff!!!
-- Chris, Scarsdale, N.Y.

I might be the 97th person to e-mail this to you, but I heard Isiah Thomas threaten that "if I see him in the street there's gonna be a problem." This morning on the radio. So you apparently have the league's worst GM looking for you.
-- David Michlin, Jericho, N.Y.

Was listening to Stephen A Smith's radio show. He had on Oscar Robertson, Jim Brown and Isiah. Isiah was speaking about how people in the press take cheap shots because they are not man enough to go face to face with someone. He then proceeded to say, he was waiting for the day that he ran into Bill Simmons. Stephen A. Smith quickly changed the topic.
-- Mike, Long Island, N.Y.

January 2006