BOSTON — When the Sacramento Kings took 5-foot-9 point guard Isaiah Thomas with the final pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, it seemed a bit far-fetched to predict he’d be an All-Star in five years.
Don’t tell that to Floyd Mayweather.
The former welterweight boxing champion stopped by TD Garden on Friday night to take in the Celtics’ game against the Orlando Magic and support Thomas, who on Thursday was named a reserve for the Eastern Conference in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.
Mayweather and Thomas have a highly-publicized friendship, but the boxing champ took his love for the Celtics guard one step further while holding court with a few reporters on his way out of the arena.
“I’m the first one — I believed in him a long time ago,” Mayweather said. “If you go back and look at it, we’ve got footage from years ago, me and him hanging out. Very cool.”
We’re not sure if Mayweather really thought Thomas would be an All-Star while he was toiling away with the Phoenix Suns, but the 5-foot-8 boxer did admit he and his friend share a common drive to be successful.
“The bigger you get, the more you make, the harder you’ve got to continue to work,” Mayweather said. “Athletes, as well as entertainers, once they reach a certain point, they’re content. With me, I always feel like I can get better.”
In Mayweather’s case, “better” translates to “richer.” Which leads us to this final line he delivered before disappearing into the Boston night.
“Actually, for one of (Thomas’) birthdays, I bought him a Bentley,” Mayweather said. “(That’s) one of the gifts I bought him. That was probably a couple years ago.”
Not the worst friend to have.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Celtics-Magic:
— Jonas Jerebko didn’t miss Friday night. Literally.
The Celtics forward scored 13 points on 4 for 4 shooting and went 3 for 3 from 3-point range and 2 for 2 from the free throw line. He also added 10 rebounds for good measure, a stat that wasn’t lost on head coach Brad Stevens.
“I think the 10 rebounds is something too; that’s a really good thing moving forward,” Stevens said. “He’s active. He feels comfortable. I think he’s pretty set in how he’s going to impact us. And it was good to see him stretch the floor.”
— Boston’s bench was awesome against the Magic, but one member of the Celtics’ reserves isn’t surprised by his unit’s stellar play.
“We’ve been killing it in practice, too,” Evan Turner said after the game. “Second squad, all we know is success, you know?”
Turner was asked just how successful his group has been and responded with a gem.
“What’d the UConn Huskies (women’s basketball team) go, like a year and a half straight (without losing)? We’ve been, like, at that level,” he said.
— Another win brought another rise in the Eastern Conference standings for Boston. The Celtics’ fifth consecutive win moved them to 27-21 and into a tie with the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 4 seed in the East.
The C’s trail the third-seeded Bulls by half a game and can overtake Chicago with a win against Orlando on Sunday and a Bulls loss to the 30-16 Los Angeles Clippers.
— Thomas isn’t the only All-Star on the Celtics’ roster.
Rookie Jordan Mickey was named to the NBA D-League All-Star Game on Friday. He was averaging 17.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.6 blocks through 21 games with the Maine Red Claws before coming down with a sprained ankle on Jan. 16.
“I think really highly of Jordan,” Stevens said before Friday’s game. “I was disappointed that he came down with the (recent) ankle sprain, because I think he’s got a lot of good things going for him, and has been really consistent up there every single night.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. laughs with Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (R) after defeating the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.
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