It’s tough to shine in the NBA by being humble, especially if you’re 5-foot-9. Fortunately for the Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas is anything but.
Thomas is in the midst of a breakout season for Boston, entering Tuesday averaging an Eastern Conference-best 29 points per game. It’s safe to say he’s come a long way from being picked last in the 2011 NBA Draft, and it appears his unwavering confidence has played a huge role in his rise.
In a recent interview with The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Celtics point guard made a pretty definitive statement about where he sees himself in today’s NBA.
“Not to be cocky, but I feel like I’m the best player in the world,” Thomas told O’Connor. “That’s just the work I put in, and if you don’t feel like that, then you’re cheating yourself.”
Thomas used Twitter on Monday to elaborate on that super-confident mindset.
Of course, there are plenty who’d disagree that Thomas is the best player in the NBA, and even Thomas himself admitted he’d put Russell Westbrook and James Harden ahead of him in the MVP consideration.
Thomas certainly isn’t the first professional athlete to make such a claim, though, and his stats to date put him in some pretty elite company: O’Connor notes that the 27-year-old is averaging 29 points on just 19.7 shots per game, a feat only accomplished by Basketball Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and Adrian Dantley.
In short, Thomas has some lofty goals, but he seems quite intent on fulfilling them.
“I remember Jason Terry always telling me, ‘Opportunity doesn’t go away, it goes to somebody else,’” Thomas said. “You just gotta be ready for that moment. To this day, I’ve always been ready for the moment that came my way.”
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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