There’s a reason why it hurt so many Boston Celtics fans to see Isaiah Thomas traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sure, the NBA’s bombshell blockbuster trade put the C’s in a position to contend for an NBA title. Kyrie Irving has been nothing short of spectacular for Boston, and the Celtics own the NBA’s best record, all without the services of Gordon Hayward, who suffered a serious injury in the season opener.
Thomas, meanwhile, has yet to play for the Cavs while rehabbing a hip injury. Who knows where Boston might sit without Irving and waiting for Thomas to return.
But in his two-plus seasons with the Celtics, Thomas drew admiration and adoration from Boston sports fans in a way few athletes have in recent years. Celtics fans loved him not only for what he did on the court but also for the fearless manner in which he did it. Just as important, Thomas embraced the whole idea of playing in Boston and playing for the Celtics.
In the latest chapter of “Book of Isaiah II” on The Players’ Tribune, the guard reflected on what made playing in Boston so special.
“Everything you hear about Boston is true,” Thomas says to start the video. “The fans, the city, it’s an amazing city, it’s a sports town. Off the city, my family was growing to like Boston. My son was loving Boston. My dad and mom, when they would come in town — family and friends were loving Boston — it was different from where we’re from, but it was a great city and an amazing sports city. I mean, we felt like we were going to be in Boston for a while.
“I had the best years of my career so far in Boston. The people there, they brought me in with open arms. You’d think I had been there 10, 15 years.”
As the adage goes, basketball is a business, and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made a calculated (if not excruciating) business decision when he traded Thomas to Cleveland.
Regardless of what happens, Boston will have a place in its heart for Thomas, and it certainly sounds like the feeling is mutual.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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