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Friday, October 15, 2021

Isaiah Thomas is On Fire Right Now

SHOTGUN SPRATLING / NEON TOMMY [CC BY-SA 2.0] / FLICKR (changes made)
SHOTGUN SPRATLING / NEON TOMMY [CC BY-SA 2.0] / FLICKR (changes made)
Isaiah Thomas deserves some long-overdue recognition as one of the premier talents in basketball. He’s the leading scorer in the fourth quarter in the NBA, he’s probably the best closer in the game and he’s carrying his Boston Celtics right now, as they’ve won eight of their last 10 behind the 5’9” guard out of Tacoma, Washington. Yeah, you heard that correctly. Isaiah Thomas is 5’9” and dominating the NBA right now. If you saw him on the A court at the ARC and he called “next,” you probably wouldn’t bat an eye.

When many first heard about Thomas, they probably thought he was the son of NBA legend Isiah Thomas, the twelve time all-star, two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP. Nay, they are unrelated. Isaiah Thomas’ father simply lost a bet on the 1989 NBA Finals in which he gambled on his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, to beat Isiah Thomas and the Pistons. If the Lakers lost, he was to name his unborn son after the famed point guard. The Pistons swept the Lakers in convincing fashion. The tale of this man having a chip on his shoulder goes back to his father making an ill-advised bet to a friend resulting in his name being a gaffe, but it doesn’t end there. The newer Thomas was the last overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft — a slot which usually goes to some guy you’d never heard of who probably now plays overseas for pennies on the dollar.

To the surprise of everyone, Thomas has forged an identity of his own. The average basketball fan no longer associates the current NBA superstar with the fifty-five year old legend.

Despite his rise to superstardom, I still wonder why Isaiah has yet to achieve the same level of  marketability as some of his peers. Usually, one could attribute this lack of attention to the franchise a player plays for. Stars in small towns are obviously lesser known, but Thomas is the head honcho for the winningest franchise in the NBA, the lauded Boston Celtics. In Boston, you’d be able to find Nike advertisements of the Celtics’ guard on transit stations throughout the city reading “Pick Me Last Again,” yet media coverage has yet to permeate through the rest of the country. The man is still criminally underappreciated by the casual basketball fan throughout the United States.

In his ice-cold performance during the final minutes of a recent road victory against the Atlanta Hawks, Isaiah Thomas helped the Celts stave off a comeback in a big way. The Celtics were up by 14 points with about seven minutes left, but in the final minute the Hawks came back and tied it up. In Boston’s final possession of the game, Thomas allowed the game clock to roll down to about five seconds and then went to work. He drove right against Kent Bazemore, stepped back at the elbow and drilled a game-winner. This has become a recurring theme; he’s become the clutchest performer in the NBA, averaging 9.9 points per game in the fourth quarter, a total that hasn’t been reached since 1996.

Isaiah Thomas deserves your attention. He deserves more endorsements. He deserves a better nickname than the Pizza Guy, and he deserves more All-Star votes than Zaza Pachulia. Give him all the love.

 

Written by: Michael Wexler — sports@theaggie.org

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