By land or by sea, New York Knicks captain Lance Thomas is fueled by a competitive fire that needs to be satisfied “at all times.” Now that the season is over, the Brooklyn native fills that void with his competitive offshore fishing team, Slang Magic.
While Thomas refers to his competitive nature as “second to none,” he has the utmost respect for his opponent while out at sea. Especially for the yellowedge grouper, his favorite fish to eat.
“I don’t like just catching fish and putting them in the boat if I’m not going to eat them,” Thomas told amNewYork at the Pig ’N’ Whistle in midtown. “I have too much respect for Mother Nature to do that.”
Thomas, 30, was introduced to fishing as a student at Duke University by teammate Kenjuan Nichols. The two first went fishing on a lake in Durham, North Carolina, and he marvels at how far he’s come in the 10 years since.
“I didn’t even like touching the fish or the bait,” Thomas said. “I’m from the North. I’m not doing that. I stuck with it, now I’m grabbing marlin by the bill, and when a big shark comes at me on the boat, I get the hook out of it. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be doing this.”
Now, after the NBA season ends, Thomas relocates to where his boat is docked in Venice, Louisiana, to join his nine-member crew and prepare for a series of tournaments along the Gulf Coast.
Slang Magic’s website has plans to feature autographed memorabilia from Thomas, where all proceeds generated will be donated to New Heights NYC, an organization that helps inner-city youth transition into college. Thomas himself benefited as a high school student from New Heights when it first launched in 2006.
Fishing has opened many doors for Thomas, both now and once his playing days are over.
“I have a competitive void that needs to be filled at all times,” Thomas said. “When my body doesn’t allow me to run up and down and play the game of basketball, I’ll have a smooth transition to another sport that is competitive but also something I’m in love with.”