On Sunday, Isaiah Thomas returned to the Boston Celtics after his sister tragically died in a car accident in Tacoma, WA on Saturday Morning. There was speculation if he would play in Game 1 vs. the Chicago Bulls, prior to making an appearance in the teams shoot around. When asked about Thomas, Coach Brad Stevens stated, “He is struggling and “obviously it’s tragic circumstances that he and his family are going through right now and our thoughts are first and foremost with all of them.” Thomas ended up playing last night and scored 33 Points, and added 6 assists and 5 rebounds in their game 1 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Thomas’ teammates were seen consoling him during pregame warmups and Avery Bradley had his arm around him on the bench at one point. The crowd gave him a standing ovation prior to the game and were chanting “MVP!” throughout the game when Thomas had the ball. Thomas also had his sisters name “Chyna” and “RIP LiL SiS” written on his shoes.
Then Charles Barkley and his “emotions” came to light. Barkley who has constantly opened his mouth without thinking, said that he felt “uncomfortable” and said “it’s not a good look” for Isaiah Thomas openly showing his emotions during pregame activities. This is after saying that basketball “can be an escape from tragedy” live on air. If Charles Barkley can’t take another grown man showing their emotions after losing a close relative, then it’s a Barkley problem, not an Isaiah Thomas problem. Barkley needs to apologize for this or at least clear up what his intentions were with his comments.
Conversely, after the game Brad Stevens called Thomas an “Amazing person” and I agree, to have the strength to not only play in a game after a tragedy but to play well shows the kind of person Thomas is as a competitor and a person. Kevin Durant also gave unsolicited comments during his o post game interview and said that “We are all praying for him” and the “NBA family is behind him”.
The Celtics will look to rebound from their Game 1 loss on Tuesday night at 8 pm.