Former NBA player Isiah Thomas waits for the start of...

Former NBA player Isiah Thomas waits for the start of a USA Basketball showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 25, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Credit: Getty Images

Isiah Thomas was named team president and part owner of the New York Liberty of the WNBA, the team announced Tuesday.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the New York Liberty and help the franchise reclaim its position as one of the elite teams in the WNBA," Thomas said in a statement. "To me, basketball is basketball. These women are outstanding athletes who want to compete for a championship in New York. I look forward to this challenge - not just to win a title, but also to help broaden the team's fanbase."

The Liberty, coached by Bill Laimbeer, Thomas' teammate with the Detroit Pistons, host Atlanta on June 5 at the Garden in the season opener.

"In the fall, Isiah and I began discussions about a possible role for him with the Liberty. Since that time, Isiah has been advising the team, and we are very pleased with the results," said James Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company. "He has overseen the strengthening of our coaching staff, with the return of three-time WNBA Champion head coach Bill Laimbeer and the hiring of Herb Williams as assistant coach, as well as our recent free agent signings, draft strategy, trade for Epiphanny Prince and the return of Liberty legend, Teresa Weatherspoon."

In his new position, Thomas, an NBA Hall of Famer and former coach and GM of the Knicks, will be responsible for the Liberty's basketball and business operations.

In 2006, Thomas and the Garden were accused in a sexual harassment case filed by former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders. In 2007, she was awarded $11.6 million. Thomas maintained his innocence and was never found personally liable.

While Thomas was a coach at Florida International University, the Knicks tried to hire him as a consultant in 2010, but that plan was scrapped because it violated NBA rules.

With The Associated PressThe Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Liberty, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.


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