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NBA Star Isaiah Thomas Balled 5-on-5 with Emersonians

Former Celtic and current Denver Nugget Isaiah Thomas stuck around after practice to play ball with Emerson College students on March 17, 2019.
By David Ertischek ’01

Former beloved Boston Celtic and current Denver Nugget Isaiah Thomas stuck around Emerson’s gym after practice to run an extra 5-on-5 game with Emerson students.

“We yelled down to him and told him we were down a guy,” said Kyle Bray ’20, who was up in the skybox of the gym with friends. “He said, ‘y’all ain’t ballin’. You ain’t down here.’ We bolted down there.”

“I can’t believe it happened,” said Jeremy Guerin ’22. “He was very down to earth. He had finished practicing. He was already tired. He still wanted to do it.”

What ensued was a full-court 11-9 battle with Thomas’ team coming out ahead. IT scored four points and Bray held the former NBA all-star to 1 of 4 shooting, which he bragged about on social media, and Thomas responded with laughter. Bray also posted video of him missing a layup while being guarded by IT.

“It’s like a childhood dream come true,” said Jordan Leandre ’22. Like Guerin and Bray, Leandre was heartbroken when the Celtics traded IT in 2017. Leandre also joked that he avoided picking Thomas up on D, “One possession he crossed three guys up and I didn’t want to be the fourth.”

Guerin and Leandre were impressed by Thomas’ desire to play with them after he had already gone through a full Nuggets workout and 30 minutes of shooting by himself. Thomas’ love for the game was evident, as he gave his teammates high fives throughout the game. And then Thomas kindly took 15 minutes to take photos with all of the players, which were posted on Twitter and Instagram. Thomas remarked on several of the social media posts, including calling Guerin “my guy.”

Guerin and Leandre, both Massachusetts residents and Celtic fans, said they called their parents right after playing, wanting to brag about playing with Thomas.

“It was surreal. I loved it,” said Bray.


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