Boston Celtics fans love Isaiah Thomas, the 5-foot-8 All-Star point guard whose play has helped turned the C’s into one of the NBA’s most exciting young teams.
And Thomas, as he detailed Friday in The Players’ Tribune, loves them right back.
“Playing in Boston has changed my career,” Thomas wrote in an open letter simply titled “Boston.” “I’ve never been able to play with this kind of freedom, and because of that, I’ve never played with more confidence. And the fans have welcomed me with open arms, too.”
Thomas, who led the Celtics in both points (22.2) and assists (6.2) per game during the regular season, explained the mutual affection in the letter and also shared a few interesting nuggets from his first 14 months as a Celtic.
A few highlights:
— Thomas received a text from Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas shortly after his trade from the Phoenix Suns to the Celtics was announced last February.
“This is the best thing that will ever happen to your career,” the text read. “Now you’re gonna experience what real basketball is like, what real fans are like, what a real organization is like. And they’re gonna fall in love with you more than any place you’ve ever been.”
— Also in the immediate aftermath of the trade, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told Thomas he “could be a Celtics legend,” and coach Brad Stevens explained how he wanted the team to adapt to the diminutive scorer’s playing style.
— Thomas’ first stop after news of the deal broke? The mall to buy a parka and some winter hats. He often griped about Boston’s historically miserable weather last winter.
— Thomas was ejected from his first game in a Celtics uniform, a road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 22, 2015, in which he also scored 21 points. Upon returning to the locker room, a C’s strength coach had a simple message for him.
“Man,” Thomas wrote, relaying the conversation, “the Celtics fans are gonna love you.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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