Weeks after rumors, speculation, and a request for additional compensation, the blockbuster trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics is finally complete. But, before Isaiah Thomas settles in Cleveland for good, he has penned an open letter to the fans of Boston.
Thomas took to The Players’ Tribune to detail his experience in Boston. He discussed his thoughts of the trade and what he was doing when he received the call from Celtics general manager, Danny Ainge.
“When I got the call from Danny, I was leaving the airport – my wife, Kayla, and I were coming from having celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary,” he wrote, adding that the conversation started off normal. “And then somewhere in there, it was just like …it was barely anything. This little pause in the conversation. And that’s when he told me. ‘I just traded you.’”
Thomas asked a few more questions concerning the details of the trade, but after a while, he just wanted to get off the phone. Danny thanked Thomas for all that he’s done for the city and the organization, complimented him on his play and said that he would be a great addition to the Cavaliers. But, at that point in time, that was not what Thomas wanted to hear. He then mustered up the courage to get off the phone and discuss the situation with his family.
His oldest son, James, took the news pretty well, saying “LEBRON! LEBRON JAMES! Dad – Dad. You get to play with LeBron James!” However, his youngest son seemed a bit heartbroken about the news. But, the deal was already done, and “that shit hurt. It hurt a lot.”
“And I won’t lie – it still hurts,” he said.
“It’s not that I don’t understand it. Of course I get it: This is a business,” he wrote. “I don’t agree with it, just personally, and I don’t think the Boston Celtics got better by making this trade. But that’s not my job.”
Although, Thomas has no hard feelings, he feels that there’s a lesson in this for everyone.
The baller went on to discuss his love for Boston and how he just clicked with the city and its fans. He was grateful for the position the team put him in and he always put his heart into the game, which explains the playoffs last year when he went out to play after his sister Chyna passed.
“What’s crazy is, the original reason I was going to play, was actually a little different from the reason I ended up playing,” he explained. “At first I thought I was going to play because, honestly, that’s just my mindset, when it comes to basketball. With basketball, I guess it’s just always been, like — no matter what I’d be going through in life … I’ve always known I can go to a basketball court. All I have to do is find one, and I’ll know I’m going to be fine for however long I’m on that court. Because that’s what basketball has always been for me, through my life’s ups and downs. It shields me from everything that I’m going through in life.”
“And when I arrived at the arena that night, after Chyna had passed — I was thinking, O.K., I just need that to happen. I need this court to be my shield tonight; I need this court to help me forget. But when I got out there? Man, it’s one of those things … I can’t even describe it. The applause that I got, I can still hear it. People had these signs they made, and I can still see them: THIS IS FOR CHYNA. WE <3 ISAIAH. That sort of thing. Then they did a moment of silence, the whole arena, in Chyna’s honor. And it was like … man. I just realized, in that moment, that I didn’t need the court to shield me. I didn’t need to block it all out, and pretend I wasn’t grieving. I didn’t have to be alone in this. The whole arena was right there with me. Honestly, it felt like the whole city of Boston was with me.”
But now, after two and a half years, Thomas is moving on. And if anyone was wondering, “You are not going to want to mess with the Cavs this year. This is going to be a great year to be a Cavs fan, a great year. And I’m excited.”
“From a basketball perspective, me on the Cavs is a match made in heaven,” he added. “You really going to throw three guys on me, when I’m sharing a court with the best basketball player on the planet? Nah, I don’t think so.”
Although he will never be able to finish out his career in Boston and go down in Boston history like other legends like Tom Brady, he is okay with believing that one day another person will tell their children that he is the reason that they are a Celtics fan.
“That would make me very happy. For me, I think, that’d be enough.”