We need to stop treating Isaiah Thomas like a Boston Celtics legend

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 2: Isaiah Thomas
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 2: Isaiah Thomas /

Ever since Isaiah Thomas was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s been treated like the second coming of Paul Pierce.

Let me start off by making something very clear. I love Isaiah Thomas. I loved him when he was on the Boston Celtics and I will always root for his success. He’s passionate, tough, and a great basketball player. I don’t want this blog to be misconstrued as an Isaiah Thomas smear campaign, because there’s no denying how great IT was in a Celtics uniform. With that said, I don’t think Thomas is deserving of the sympathy and attention he’s been receiving from Celtics fans and the media.

Before I get into my thought process, I want to bring up some of the reasons people have been so adamant in their defense of the former Celtics point guard. If I’ve learned anything from the movie 8 Mile, it’s to always acknowledge your opposition’s argument. So here goes.

Defending Isaiah Thomas

Since his emergence as an All-Star caliber player, IT has become the poster child of overcoming adversity. Listed at 5’9, Thomas is the shortest player in the NBA. However, that didn’t stopped him from averaging 25.5 points per game during his two seasons in Boston.

Thomas also battled through some troubles, both physical and personal, while with the Celtics. Perhaps the most admirable and impressive thing IT did during his stint in Boston was play in a playoff game the day after the death of his sister, Chyna Thomas. The decision to play showed Isaiah’s passion and love for the City of Boston and the Boston Celtics.

Related Story: Isaiah Thomas still salty over Kyrie Irving trade

He was aptly nicknamed “The King In The Fourth” due to his late game heroics, which led the Celtics to many comeback victories. Last season, Isaiah Thomas was second in the NBA in 4th quarter ppg (9.8), behind only Russell Westbrook (10). His ability to carry the Celtics late in the game made him the face of the team’s success.

Finally, Isaiah was traded with no fair warning. He received a call from Danny Ainge and boom. He wasn’t a Celtic anymore. A video by The Players’ Tribune captured IT’s reaction to the news.

So, there you have it. The story of Isaiah Thomas. He is a physical embodiment of the City of Boston. Undersized, tough, and succeeding against all odds. It’s easy to understand why Celtics fans fell in love with him.

The Case Against

So now comes the part where you begin to dislike me. This is when those who disagree with me break out the “but he gave his heart to this city!” argument. All I ask, before you rip me to shreds in the comment section, is that you make it to the bottom of this blog.

First off, people are treating Isaiah Thomas like he’s Paul Pierce. Let’s get one thing straight before we immortalize IT in Celtics history. He played for the Celtics for two full seasons. Just two. Is that really enough time to cement yourself in a franchise’s legacy? I don’t think so.

When you look at the all time Celtics greats, they played in Boston for a lot more than two seasons. Kevin Garnett played in Boston for 6 seasons. Paul Pierce played there for 15. Hall of famers Larry Bird and Bill Russell both donned a Celtics uniform for the entirety of their 13 year careers. Forgive me, but Isaiah Thomas doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as these Boston legends. And yes, people are grouping him in with those guys.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics /

My next major gripe with Isaiah Thomas is that he’s acting like the first player to ever be traded. The “I can’t believe I was traded” is perfectly acceptable. What’s not acceptable is the “I can’t believe they did that to me”. At the end of the day, professional sports are a business and Danny Ainge did what he felt was best for the team. Oh, and IT’s two years with the team didn’t exactly qualified him to get tenure.

More from Chowder and Champions

Finally, Isaiah Thomas didn’t lead the Boston Celtics to a NBA Championship. Normally, when a player keeps mentioning “all I did for that city”, he’s referring to bringing home a Championship or helping the city overcome a tragedy. The Yankees making a deep playoff run after 9/11. Drew Brees winning a Super Bowl after hurricane Katrina. The Red Sox winning the World Series after the Boston Marathon Bombing. Most recently, it was the Houston Astros winning the World Series after a devastating hurricane in Houston. Those teams and players truly did something for their cities.

So, as much as I like Isaiah Thomas, I don’t need to keep hearing about all he did for Boston. He was a great player, no doubt. He was passionate and gave 110% at all times. But he has no business choosing when he gets a tribute video. He’s no Pierce. He’s no Bird. Heck, Rajon Rondo and Big Baby Davis hold more of a place in my heart than IT does. I’m sorry, but that’s my truth.

Next: Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving expects fans to show love for Isaiah Thomas

I wish IT the best in the future, and I’ll remember him forever. The biggest problem, though, whether it was his choice or not, is that I’ll remember him in part as a Cavalier. A LeBron James ally. He’s no lifelong Celtic of mine.