NEW YORK (AP) -The former New York Knicks executive who filed a $10 million sexual harassment lawsuit against coach Isiah Thomas testified Tuesday that the NBA legend repeatedly called her derogatory names in private conversations before abruptly switching gears and professing his love.
Anucha Browne Sanders told a jury of five women and three men that Thomas, the Knicks' head coach and president of basketball operations, would blow up any time she tried to recruit him or his players for marketing campaigns.
``Bitch, I'm here to win basketball games,'' Browne Sanders quoted Thomas as saying in the workplace.
In another discussion about season ticket holders, she claimed Thomas said, ``Bitch, I don't give a (expletive) about these white people.''
Outside court, an attorney for Thomas, Sue Ellen Eisenberg, called the allegations ``unfounded and outrageous.''
Browne Sanders' testimony came on the first day of the closely watched civil trail in federal court in Manhattan. It followed opening statements in which another attorney for Thomas sought to portray the plaintiff as a liar who made up charges to deflect attention from her incompetence.
Thomas ``emphatically denies he ever used those words to or about Ms. Browne Sanders,'' said the lawyer, Kathleen Bogas.
Bogas described Browne Sanders, a 44-year-old former Northwestern basketball star, as a physically imposing woman who was savvy enough to navigate the trash-talking world of professional basketball.
``She's a tall woman - with heels on, taller than Isiah Thomas,'' Bogas said.
Browne Sanders is seeking reinstatement to her job as senior vice present of marketing and business operations. She also has demanded hefty damages after spending five years with the storied franchise.
The plaintiff contends that despite being showered with rave performance reviews and raises for most of her tenure, the Knicks fired her from her ``dream job'' in January 2006 in retaliation for daring to hire a lawyer and pursue sexual harassment allegations against Thomas.
Browne Sanders testified that when she reported Thomas' sexist tirades to Steve Mills, the team's chief operating officer, he told her to ``accommodate him.'' Later, following a Knicks victory at Madison Square Garden, she said, Thomas surprised the married mother of three inside the arena by throwing his arm around her and sweet-talking her.
``I figured out why we have problems,'' he said, according to Browne Sanders. ``It's because we're so alike. I'm in love with you.''
She decided to ``laugh it off,'' she said. ``I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.''
Thomas, a former Detroit Pistons guard who in 1996 was voted one of the NBA's top 50 players of all time, has acknowledged that in December 2005 he tried to kiss Browne Sanders on the cheek at a Knicks game and asked ``No love today?'' when she pulled away, according to court papers. But he has disputed her allegations that he asked her to ``go off site'' for private time.
Madison Square Garden, which owns the team, insists Browne Sanders' dismissal followed a series of marketing and budgeting failures and came after MSG Chairman James Dolan discovered she had tried to subvert an internal investigation of her harassment claims.
Dolan, also a defendant in the case, decided Browne Sanders ``could not be counted on to do her job after that,'' MSG lawyer Ronald Green said.

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Will Fox be a top-5 pick? With the 2017 NBA Drafttakes place later tonight. Where can we expect one of the top prospects, De’Aaron Fox, to land tonight?
Thumbnail Fultz to go to the 76ers? The Boston Celticshave traded out of the No. 1 pick. The Philadelphia 76ersnow hold the top pick once again. Is it a slam dunk who they will take in the NBA...
Thumbnail 2018 NBA Finals Odds After dominating the 2017 NBA Playoffs, will anyone keep the Golden State Warriors from winning the NBA Finals again...
Thumbnail Stephen Curry Game 5 Props Will Stephen Curry bounce back from a poor showing in Game 4 when the Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight at 9PM...

NBA Team Pages