Last to first, Isaiah Thomas has climbed the rankings of basketball and life many times, motivated in his success by that insatiable desire to show how wrong those who doubts him are.
After having spent two years in the abyss where he had fallen after having touched the sky with a finger, after having made Boston fall in love with him, accustomed to legends, and all the NBAs, will have a chance to go back up again - a real opportunity in Washington, a team with which he has agreed to a one-year contract at minimum salary.
Thomas has only played 44 games in the last two seasons, more in the infirmary than in the field because of the injury to his right hip which, for the love of Boston, has left him worse and his career has been compromised. At the Celtics he had given everything in those 2017 playoffs, played like a madman so as not to think about his sister Chyna, who died in a car accident just before the start of a finished race (for Boston, he had had to surrender to pain in the hip first) only in the conference final against the Cavs of LeBron James.
He, In two and a half seasons in Boston had become an All Star, a symbol, a leader, a 28.9 point serial scorer in 2016-17, the maximum for a player wearing the legendary green jersey from the times of Larry Bird. Not bad for a 175cm tall to want to be generous, chosen at the last call of the 2011 draft, that from call number 60 he had to fight for his place in the NBA making his way up to become the idol of the most successful team in history.
Isiah Thomas was ready for another starring season in which he earned the maximum wage, but the Celtics dumped him two years ago to take Kyrie Irving. Regardless of how it went between Boston and Irving, who on the first day of free agency 2019 announced the goodbye to the Celtics to play in Brooklyn with Kevin Durant, the one for Boston was the right move to make.
Thomas also understood it, but since he left the TD Garden it has never been the same. It took too long for the hip to heal. And he came out of the experiences with Cavs and Lakers in 2017-18 with the belief that the flashes he had shown wearing the number 4 of the Celtics were unrepeatable despite his15.6 points per race. So much so that instead of signing up the most, he accepted the least from the Denver last summer.
The Nuggets have taken care of him, waited for him, inserted with extreme calm in the group. Thomas played 12 games, then had to step aside, excluded from the rotations of a team that had found its formula, fighting for first place in the West. Isaiah suffered from not being able to take off his suit. But he made the leader, the locker man, the veteran.
"No one knew what to expect from me after the hip operation two years ago and two summers full of rehabilitation" - he had told ESPN before free agency started, "But now I'm fine, I can lock myself up in the gym all over and work on my game, rebuild my body, my muscles. And to return what I was in 2017. I can't wait to demonstrate what I can do”.
Washington has decided to believe him. And Thomas will really have a chance because the Wizards have to wait for John Wall, their franchise man who broke his Achilles tendon in January, and chose him to replace him (with Ish Smith, who said yes to a 12-year two-year insurance policy).
At 30, Thomas plays his last chance to prove he is still at NBA. Some time ago he played to prove himself to be the best miniature guard in history. Now the Wizards jersey will be put on simply to prove he can still be himself, Isaiah Thomas.
Call number 60 of the draft became All Star. A player too low to enter the NBA. One last who likes to silence those who think he cannot become first again.