'I Got My Joy Back': Isaiah Thomas' Trip to Hell and Back


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Game 3

Positivity     45.00%   
   Negativity   55.00%
The New York Times
SOURCE: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2861763-i-got-my-joy-back-isaiah-thomas-trip-to-hell-and-back
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Summary

Isaiah Thomas, heartbroken and injured, searched for ways to pass the time. "Basketball has always been the only thing that can help when I'm going through something tough," Thomas says. He also wanted to remain a star as they grew older and fell in love with the sport.Over time, Thomas' hip improved, though little could be done for his heart. He had once quipped that it'd take a Brink's truck to sign him to a long-term deal, but July 1, he again accepted the veteran's minimum worth $2.3 million, this time from the Wizards.The situation this year is far more promising than it had been in Denver: Thomas is fully healthy, and the Wizards are giving him all the minutes he can earn and handle. The money, however, is the same.Had Thomas never torn his hip labrum, he'd likely be in third year of a max contract, paying around $30 million annually. But that's not how Thomas saw it."The good thing about it is, it's away from my hip," he says. But I don't hold no grudges."As Thomas has grown older—and been forced to spend some time away from the game—he has shifted his priorities."I think when he was younger it was more, 'I have to prove people wrong, prove my haters wrong; everyone doubts me,'" Kayla says. (On these occasions, Isaiah will celebrate on Twitter.) There are mornings where it's more like a six, in which case Thomas might play music in his room and spread open his blinds to look down on the early-morning bustle of D.C. There are also mornings where Chyna's death weighs heavy."Shit, to this day it's tough," he says. In Spanaway, Washington, where Thomas was born, and Tacoma, where pickup runs were more intense, Isaiah leveraged the ball for a spot in local games. His games became family events.Nearly every time he played, the Thomas family was there—parents, grandparents and sisters, LaQuisha and Chyna. "Isaiah enjoyed basketball more than anything."Thomas' oldest son, James, had it all mapped out. "They think it's like 2K where you can just trade yourself," Thomas says. "It was a want," Thomas says. His second game, against Houston, was even better: 17 points and 10 assists as the Wizards scored 158.For the most part, Thomas looks like his old self. It's something he added this summer, the first since 2016 spent working on basketball instead of hip strength.After three games, Thomas was inserted into the Wizards starting lineup, and Washington won by 16. (Washington has responded by playing 2-3 zone 20 percent of the time Thomas is on the floor (according to Synergy Sports), taking some pressure off him.) The Wizards are likely to miss the postseason, though Thomas isn't worried about expectations. "We don't have the best talent, but we have good players with good energy, and that's all you need," he says.Regardless, there is more at stake for Thomas than a trip to the postseason (and the early knockout that would likely ensue). "I'm ready for him to prove he was a great player way before the Celtics, he was a great player for the Celtics, and he'll be a great player after the Celtics," she says.Thomas is striving to do the same.

As said here by Leo Sepkowitz