Isaiah Thomas, the Boston Celtics point guard, is in no way related to Isiah Thomas, the Basketball Hall of Famer.
Don’t tell that to the legions of NBA hecklers, though.
“Every game,” the younger Thomas said Thursday in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “Somebody always says, ‘Your dad was a horrible coach,’ or, ‘You’ll never be as good as your dad’ — things like that. I just laugh it off.”
The two Thomases are connected, though — in more ways than one.
“I met him back in college, and we’ve grown and had a great relationship since,” the Celtics guard said. “He’s one of my mentors, somebody that I talk to all the time. Not just for advice on the court, but even off the court — being a father, being a young man. He’s a guy that I listen to, and he’s an important part of my life.”
And, of course, there’s the name, which came to be after Isaiah’s father, a Los Angeles Lakers fan, lost a bet on the 1989 NBA Finals. Isaiah didn’t actually meet Isiah until much later, however, when he was playing college ball at the University of Washington. The former Detroit Pistons star sought out Isaiah’s parents during a game, and the relationship blossomed from there.
“I’ve always wanted to meet him,” Isaiah said. “But it was weird, after a game my mom and dad got a picture with him and got his number, and I didn’t believe it at first. And then I was happy that it went down like that.”
The Celtics certainly have been happy with their acquisition of Thomas so far. The 26-year-old has averaged a team-high 20.1 points in seven games for Boston and earlier this week earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors.
Left thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Right thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images