Q&A: Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas discusses the Kevin Durant meeting, pro wrestling and the NBA's two best defenders
The NBA season may be 10 weeks away, but Isaiah Thomas is staying busy. The Celtics guard recently teamed up with Slim Jim for their Settle the Beef campaign. I caught up with Thomas by phone to discuss Deflategate, his favorite pro wrestler and Kelly Olynyk's fashion sense.
SI.com: How have things been going so far with Slim Jim?
Isaiah Thomas: We partnered together on their 'Settle The Beef' campaign and I've been interacting with fans via social media. So whatever the fans want to talk about - sports, the Boston Celtics, whatever I’m doing back home - I'm up for it. It's just a fun argument between me and the fans.
SI.com: Many people still think of Randy “Macho Man” Savage when they think of Slim Jim. Do you know about his ads?
Thomas: Yeah. I didn’t know about Slim Jim until I heard Randy “Macho Man’ Savage say it with his crazy voice. He definitely made it what it is and I think a lot of people my age know about Slim Jim because of him.
SI.com: Are you a wrestling fan?
Thomas: Oh sure. I’ve been to one wrestling event in Sacramento. It was WWE and The Rock came out. It was something I always wanted to go to as a kid. I don't follow as much anymore but I used to love it when I was younger.
SI.com: Are there any wrestlers you'd try and emulate if you were part of the WWE?
Thomas: I’d be like Rey Mysterio Jr., if you remember him. He was the smallest guy out there. That's who I'd be.
SI.com: You were a part of the Kevin Durant meeting with the Celtics. Let's be honest: Do you think Durant didn't choose Boston because of the T-shirt Kelly Olynyk wore to the meeting? Did it have any affect on his decision?
Thomas (laughing): That might have been the reason. You never know what Kelly is going to end up wearing on any given day. Who knows?
SI.com: Would you say he has the most interesting personality on the team?
Thomas: I guess you can say that. Kelly can fit in with anybody. You can put him in a neighborhood full of people he’s never seen or met before and before long, he’ll be joking around with them. He’s a guy that no matter what team he’s on or who’s around, he’s the life of the party.
SI.com: Is there any part of you that’s happy you didn’t get Durant because it meant the team would mostly stay intact?
Thomas: I’m happy that the team is together for the most part. We lost two really good players in Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger but for the most part, we’re still together. We added Al Horford, Gerald Green and draft picks. We just need to put things together and hopefully have another great season.
SI.com: What would you say makes Boston so unique from other cities?
Thomas: It’s the definition of what a sports town is. The fans, the community - everyone loves there sports around there. They are diehard fans whether the team is good or bad and you don’t get a lot of cities like that. They showed me a lot of love. It changed how my career has gone the last year and a half.
SI.com: Did you follow Deflategate? Did Tom Brady get a raw deal?
Thomas (laughing): No comment on that one.
SI.com: As a Celtics fan, I can love and hate Marcus Smart all within the period of two minutes. What do you see that maybe fans don’t see?
Thomas: What he has ... what he’s talented at, you can’t teach. It's all the intangibles. He works hard. He’s a great teammate. And I’d put him up against anybody in the NBA for one possession. He thinks he can guard anybody and that’s a special mindset to have. I’m glad he’s on my team and I can compete against him every day. He’s getting better - physically and mentally - so I’m happy for his future and hopefully he’s ready for the season.
SI.com: Would you say the NBA's two toughest defenders to play against are on your team, that being Avery Bradley and Smart.
Thomas: For sure. Smart can guard multiple positions whether it be taking on Paul Millsap like he did in our series against Atlanta or even guarding [Kristaps] Porzingis on the Knicks. He’s a guy who doesn’t back down from anybody. And Avery, he’s the best on-ball defender there is. There’s no question about that. Put him against anybody and they’ll have trouble against him.
SI.com: Are there any defenders in the league who you fear?
Thomas: No, because nobody can guard me so it doesn’t really matter. But Avery and Marcus are two great defenders and I’m happy they’re on my team.
SI.com: Have you been following the Olympics?
Thomas: I have a little bit. I don’t watch all the games but I’ve definitely checked on the stats of the basketball games.
SI.com: Do you wish you were playing?
Thomas: Yes, I wish I was part of the team. Hopefully for the next Olympics I could be in consideration. I’m ready for the opportunity and hope it comes my way. But I’m definitely rooting for those guys to bring the gold home.
SI.com: Have you been following the Ryan Lochte situation?
Thomas: Is that the guy that got held at gunpoint? I just saw it on the news a few minutes ago. I don’t know what to say about that.
SI.com: You were the last pick in the 2011 Draft. What was that night like for you?
Thomas: Man it was nice. I mean, it wasn’t nice but it was a dream come true to get my name called. It was the longest day of my life. It was frustrating to see guys getting the call who I outperformed not just in the season, but in individual workouts and all those types of things. It was hard to see so many teams passing on me. But at the end of the day, it just motivated me and made me who I am today. It makes the story that much better in the end.
SI.com: Let's play a little rapid fire before you go. French fries or onion rings?
SI.com: First celeb crush?
SI.com: Favorite breakfast cereal?
Thomas: Cocoa puffs.
SI.com: Favorite restaurant in Boston?
Thomas: Strip and Morton’s.
SI.com: Go-to pizza topping?
SI.com: How many tattoos?
Thomas: I can’t even count. I haven’t counted in so long. At least over 20.
SI.com: What’s your favorite TV show right now?
Thomas: Law and Order.
SI.com: Original or one of the spin-offs?
Thomas: I like the original. SVU is good, too.