What started as a dream, clinching the #1 seed in the seed in the east, the Celtics were steamrolling. Stuck in the reverie of the IT4 show, everything appeared perfect in the land of Boston, or so it seemed.
On April the 15th – three days after solidifying their supremacy in the east – Isaiah Thomas’ younger sister, Chyna Thomas, passed away at the age of 22 due to an unfortunate car crash.
Subsequently, there was no shortage of support from around the league:
Yet, despite a single day to grieve, there stood Isaiah Thomas for game one of the Celtics-Bulls series.
Visibly shaken, Thomas is seen crying prior to the opening game of the Celtics’ playoff campaign.
Through all the headlines and stories, there was one question on everyone’s mind: what could he possibly be thinking?
“When I found out the news, I wanted to give up and quit — and never in my life have I ever thought about quitting,” Thomas stated during his sister’s funeral. “I realized quitting isn’t an option. That’s the easy way out. I will keep going for my sister, as I know she wouldn’t want me to stop. I love you, Chyna, and I miss you so much. And everything I do for the rest of my life will be for you.”
If anyone is going to take on this type of challenge, it’s Isaiah. Adversity is nothing Isaiah isn’t already familiar with as he’s had to overcome substantial obstacles in the past, such as his height barrier in the NBA. But don’t let his undersized 5’9″ frame fool you, he holds the heart of a fearless warrior; enabling him to thrive despite the circumstances.
On what would have marked the 23rd birthday of Chyna Thomas, Isaiah put up one of the most historical NBA playoff performances to remember. Dropping 53 points en route to a 129-119 win over the Wizards in round 2, he dedicated his game to his sister.
“My family, my friends they tell me to keep going. My sister wouldn’t want me to stop. The only thing about it is, once I leave this gym, I hit reality and she’s not here. So, that’s the tough part,” Thomas said in an interview with TNT’s David Aldridge. “But when I’m in this arena, I can lock in, and I know everything I do is for her.
Isaiah continues to use Chyna’s death as motivation as the Celtics are one win away from the Eastern conference finals. All while averaging 25.6 points and 5.6 assists per game for the Celts this postseason.
If playing through hell is what he has to do in order to get to the later rounds of the playoffs, so be it, there’s no bigger challenger than Isaiah’s heart.