Childhood & Early Life
Isaiah Jamar Thomas was born on February 7, 1989 in Tacoma, Washington to James and Tina Baldtrip. His father was a parts inspector for Boeing and his mother worked as nurse. He had a sister named Chyna who died in a one-car accident on April 15, 2017.
He was named after famous former Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas following a bet his father made with a friend that the Los Angeles Lakers would defeat the Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals. While he lost the bet, the match happened months after his son was born, but they had already decided on the name; the only difference being that his wife suggested the Biblical spelling.
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Isaiah Thomas began playing basketball at the local community center in Tacoma and went on to average 31.2 points as a junior at Curtis Senior High, where he received scholarship to the University of Washington. However, due to academic deficiency, he was sent to South Kent (Conn.) Prep School for two years, felicitated by Washington coaches, and qualified for the standardized test in 2008.
On November 20, 2008, he scored a season-high 19 points against Florida International, and surpassed his previous record on December 30 with 27 points in an 81–67 home win over Morgan State.
During the 2008-09 season, he was named 'Pac-10 Freshman of the Year' and was selected first team 'All-Pac-10' in the next two seasons with an average of 16.4 points in three seasons at UW. In his junior year, he scored 28 points and hit the game-winning shot in the Pac-10 championship game against Arizona on March 12, 2011 and was among ten finalists for the ‘Bob Cousy Award’.
On March 31, 2011, Isaiah Thomas announced he would forego his senior year at college to enter the NBA draft, and subsequently appeared in his pre-draft documentary entitled ‘Road To The NBA-The Isaiah Thomas Story’. He was picked as the last pick in the draft, 60th overall, by Sacramento Kings, where he was named 'NBA Rookie of the Month' twice for the months of February and March 2012.
He reached a career-high 38 points against Oklahoma City Thunder on January 19, 2014, and became the shortest player to ever record a triple-double in the NBA against Washington Wizards on March 18, 2014.
During the 2013-14 season, he averaged over 20 points and 6 assists per game, to join Calvin Murphy, Dana Barros, Damon Stoudamire, and Michael Adams as the fifth player under 6ft to achieve this feat.
Starting the next season as a restricted free agent, he was acquired by Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade deal and became the fourth Suns player to score 23 points in his first two games. Before being traded away to Boston Celtics mid-season, he recorded a season-high 27 points off the bench against Portland Trail Blazers and became the shortest contestant to ever participate in the 'NBA Skills Challenge'.
He joined Boston Celtics on February 19, 2015, and scored 21 points off the bench in his debut against the Los Angeles Lakers three days later. After an injury forced him out of eight games, he returned on April 8, 2015, to score a season-high 34 points in a 113–103 win over the Detroit Pistons.
He played his first play-off game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 19, but despite his average of 17.5 points and 7.0 assists per game, his team lost all the four games of the series. With 33 first-place votes, he finished the season as the second player in the ‘NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award’ for his sixth-man role both in Phoenix and Boston.
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On January 28, 2016, he became the lowest draft pick to be named to the NBA All-Star Game since the NBA draft was reduced to two rounds in 1989. He earned All-Star honors in the 2016-17 season as well, and was also named second-team All-NBA in 2017.
During three seasons with the Celtics, he recorded an increasing scoring average every year, culminating in a career-high 28.9 in 2016–17, including a career-high 52 points against the Miami Heat on December 30, 2016.
He took the team to the playoffs in each season, and earned the nickname 'King of the Fourth' because of his exceptional display in the fourth quarter in numerous games throughout the season.
He was traded to Cleveland Cavaliers on August 22, 2017, but due to multiple hip injuries, was unable to play for the rest of the year. His debut match for the team was in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers, in which he scored 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
His first start of the season was in his second game with the Cavaliers against Orlando Magic on January 6, 2018 in which he scored 19 points and four assists. He scored a season-high 24 points in a losing attempt against Oklahoma City Thunder on January 20, 2018.