Forever The King of the Fourth


"We'll Always Be Family" - Isaiah Thomas

The Boston Celtics honored former point guard Isaiah Thomas on Monday night.  The moment was everything Thomas dreamed it would be.  Since the trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers two years ago, Thomas has never been the same player we grew to love during his time wearing green.

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The Garden rose to their feet with 7:06 left in the first quarter when the Celtics played Thomas' tribute video on the big screen above midcourt.  The crowd, the players, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, head coach Brad Stevens and former players looked on as all of Boston was honoring the 5-foot-9 spark plug that became a Celtics icon.  The Garden began to rain down with the chants "I-T, I-T" while the screen read "Thank you, IT".

"I was emotional," Thomas said after the game.  "I almost cried."

When the video ended, Thomas saluted the Green Teamers in the crowd with a peace sign.  Then he tapped his left wrist twice, it was "IT Time", and the standing ovation went on to last for more than a minute.

Thomas' time in Boston was special.  He played two seasons in green and quickly became one of the NBA's brightest stars.  Back on February 19, 2015, Thomas was traded to the Celtics in exchange for shooting guard Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first round pick.  Three days after being traded to the Celtics, Thomas made his debut in a 118-111 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.  Thomas would score 21 points off the bench for the C's.  He would go on to finish the year second in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award voting with 324 points and 33-first place votes.

Shop for official Boston Celtics team gear and authentic collectibles at NBAStore.comThe former 60th overall draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft began to captivate Boston.  The one thing that made Celtics fans fall in love with the player was the way he was able to take over the fourth quarter.  IT gave everything to the Boston Celtics.  He earned his nickname, which would go on to sell thousands of t-shirts and would be re-tweeted on Twitter by the masses.

On the eve of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, Thomas' sister, Chyna, was killed in a car accident.  With a heavy heart, IT played and honored his sister.  He would go on to drop 53 points on the Washington Wizards in Game 2 of the playoffs.  "I went through a real life situation here when I lost my sister" IT said after the game.  "And I think that's why, other than ... the love is always there, but that's what took it to another level."

Thomas gave his heart, body and soul to the city of Boston - and Boston gave it right back.  During that playoff run, he would ultimately injure his hip and was sidelined for the remainder of the playoffs.  That injury would ultimately end IT's run with the Boston Celtics.

Once the season was over, the King of the Fourth was traded to the Cavs for Kyrie Irving.  The full transaction was the Celtics traded Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn pick to the Cavs for Irving.

I remember sitting in a bar, having a cocktail and then looking at the television screen.  ESPN was breaking news that the Celtics were closing in on a trade of Irving.  Initially I thought, holy s#!t, the Celtics have acquired another legit superstar.  The thought of Kyrie in Green immediately got me excited about this team after the tough playoff loss.  I also thought about Thomas.  He would play alongside LeBron James and, more importantly - the Brinks truck would back up to the Quicken Loans Arena and IT would finally get paid.  Thomas was out with his hip injury and then was traded to the Lakers.

If you did not get goosebumps watching the IT tribute video you aren't human.  IT loved this city, he was able to put smiles on everyone faces.  He bled green.  During his short time with the Celtics, he was everything Boston needed him to be.  He was a Celtic.  He was The King of the Fourth.

In sports, just like players, fans need to understand this is a business.  It is ok to fall in love with the players wearing your team's laundry.  What's so amazing about Boston is as a player you can always come home.  Last night IT was home and again he was one of us.  Isaiah earned his tribute video, he played his heart out and gave the city of Boston everything he possibly could.

It takes courage to let things go, and now it's time to move on.  IT will forever be linked to Boston.  Boston on Monday night said "Thank you" to IT, and no one will ever forget that night.

In the words of Mel Brooks, "it's good to be the King".

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Forever The King of the Fourth
Forever The King of the Fourth
Boston Sports Syndicate
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