Nobody hates losing more than Lance Thomas, and he has been doing it for awhile now.
For the past four seasons, Thomas has been a mainstay on a Knicks team that has lost at least 50 games. Thomas grew up a Knicks fan while living in Brooklyn, and now that he is playing for them, he wants to win more than anything.
That is why losing kills him.
"Losing [expletive]," Thomas told Newsday's Al Iannazzone. "It ruins my days sometims. But don't make excuses. You got to figure it out. I'm going to figure it out. I'm going to help the team figure it out.
"Me figuring out is how can I lead better? How can I get the most out of our young talent? How can I keep the locker room positive? How can I keep everyone's work ethic really high, where it needs to be? How can I bring out the competitive nature in every player?
"I think about this every day. I really want us to be a good team. These are the things that go through my mind, not just how I'm playing, how's Lance playing tonight? It's not about that."
Being a captain of the team is the reason Thomas thinks about these questions even more. The 29-year-old is theonly Knicks player to be a part of these miserable seasons as well.
Also, losing isn't in Thomas' blood. He won two state championships back in high school, and was a co-captain for the Duke Blue Devils' 2010 national title team. Since entering the league, he has yet to see playoff minutes.
"I'm a competitor," Thomas said. "I really hate losing. This is my team. This is where I'm from. I have a more special bond and connection with this team than anybody on the team just because I grew up a fan, and I want to win in New York. I'm going to continue to do everything in my power to help. I hate losing. I'm pretty sure everybody on the team does. The city deserves to have a winning team."
The city hasn't seen the Knicks flourish in recent years. There have been four playoff appearances since the 2001-02 season, but only won series win to show for it. Instead, New York City has endured years of bad management moves, rebuilding, and confusion as to when the team will start to become the powerhouse it once was.
Kristaps Porzingis gave the team a surge in spirit, but after a torn ACL this season to add to his injury history, his future is up in the air until he can prove he can stay on the court for a full season. But that won't stop Thomas, who is committed to bringing Knicks basketball back to the way it was in it's heyday.
"When adversity hits, your true character comes out," he said. "I never want anyone to ever say his true colors came out during those four years. 'He tanked. He's not doing XYZ.' We win together, we lose together. I wear my Knicks uniform with pride. It hasn't been the result I wanted. At the end of the day, it's my home team and I'm happy to represent it."
Thomas is under contract with the Knicks until the 2020 season, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.