Dear Mr. Thomas,
StR has taken more bites out of you than all the dogs in Michael Vick's Dog Fighting League and I wanted to take a moment to come correct and apologize on behalf of many that unfairly attacked and/or took shots at you.
While I know I am not in your fav 5 and am not professing to know you personally, I do know that you haven't been given a fair shake and I hope to change that.
It seems like only yesterday during the Summers of 1996-7 that you were working the clock in the axillary gym at the UNM Summer Basketball Camp while I was reffing when we met and kibitzed between timeouts and quarter breaks. You and I were both volunteering our time and I saw first hand, you signing autographs for little kids, being approachable and very humble despite being the big man on campus.
We joked about how tough but fair Coach Bliss was, how you learned to roll with the punches, and how you enjoyed helping out with his camp--giving back to the kids--despite it being a hundred degrees outside and having a hundred other places you could have been during those hot, and boring New Mexico Summers.
Having been to dozens of high school/AAU/JC/Pro-AM camps and seen dozens of prima donnas who come in with their ghetto fabulous threads, their junior entourage, with their Mr. T Starter sets, you were unassuming, mature, well spoken, gracious, professional and just a great guy. I have always admired you for that. You also hooked me up with some UNM warm ups--I still have them.
Most people here don't know that you are either first of second all time in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, dunks at UNM and kept the team in the Top 25 AP Poll or NCAA tourney all four years you were there.
I doubt people realize that you are only one of two rookie NBA Players to lead your team in rebounding and you did so on a Rockets team that featured Hall of Famers Hakeem and Sir Charles (injured for most of that year) Kelvin Cato and Carlos Rogers.
During the '03-04 campaign in Philadelphia you averaged a double double-only 10 others in the league did the same--all taller than you. Afterwards you graciously accepted a reserve role fighting for time with Skinner, Williamson, Ingoudala and Rogers and really never had a chance once you landed with the Kings. Sorry our coaching carousel didn't see that you could help the team.
Petrie was pretty smart to take your $39M remaining with Skinner's expiring and Williamson's contract and shed the horrible $62M contract owed Webber and his wilting frame. But because he was a beloved all-star and you were not, you were odd man out from the beginning. Yet you didn't bitch, you didn't tweet, you didn't pout, you didn't get any DUIs, or give anyone a reason to dislike you. No, you just showed up and did what was expected of you and took the abuse from too many who saw you merely as a salary cap nightmare.
I appreciate that you have given back to the community in many ways as well. You started a foundation giving out scholarships to high school students in Albuquerque who want to go to college and have the Kenny Thomas Youth Basektball Fundamentals camp.
This year you finally have a chance to play and you have contributed unselfishly: pounding the boards, demonstrated your leadership in the lockeroom and to the media, representing the team with dignity and grace and professionalism.
Our young guys need your help and you are giving it to them. I thank you for that. If we can sneak into the playoffs or at least get over 30 wins know you helped get us there even if you only get 20+ minutes every blue moon.
We owed you more that we have given you and if you can pepper the rest of the league like you did the Suns with an occasional 18 rebounds then I feel confident StR will show you the respect you deserve.
(From here on let the latest commandement on STR be: A moratorium on all K-9 & (Whoof!) references in honor of our new found appreciation and respect for our elder statesman, Sir Kenny Thomas. PS - I am all ears if you have any recommendations for a new name.)