There are numerous reasons why Isaiah Thomas became one of fans’ all-time favorite Boston Celtics.
With his shooting ability and the chip on his shoulder, he gave the Celtics a spark during a rebuilding period that wasn’t supposed to amount to much success.
But nothing cemented Thomas’ legacy in Boston like the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
Thomas’ sister, Chyna, tragically died in a car accident the day before the Celtics were scheduled to play the Chicago Bulls in the first round. Thomas, however, still took the floor and scored 33 points in a loss before eventually helping the C’s defeat the Bulls in the series.
Next came the Washington Wizards, and Game 2 of the series fell on what would have been Chyna’s 23rd birthday.
You could say IT absolutely balled-out for his baby sister, dropping an absurd 53 points to help the Celtics take a 2-0 lead with the game taking place three years ago today. It was the second-most points any Celtic had scored in the postseason. And what a performance it was, given the gravity of the situation.
“My family, my friends, they tell me to just keep going,” Thomas said in a TNT post-game interview. “My sister wouldn’t want me to stop. The only thing about it is once I leave this gym, I hit reality and she’s not here. That’s the tough part. When I’m in this arena, I can lock in and I know everything I do is for her.”
Celtics' Isaiah Thomas in emotional TNT walk-off interview: "My sister wouldn't want me to stop… Once I leave this gym, she's not here." pic.twitter.com/HFdXJYDKWb
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 3, 2017
Thomas’ legendary Game 2 would be impressive if that were the only obstacle he faced. People forget that while dealing with the loss of his sister, he also lost a front tooth in Game 1 and had to have oral surgery the day prior.
You can’t make this stuff up. But to the Celtics fans that witnessed Thomas go off that day, it remains one of the most memorable and special games in franchise history.