Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas has helped lead Boston to its No. 2 Eastern Conference ranking, but his dominance in leading his teams to wins began long before he broke into the NBA.
In Tim Layden's story for SI's The Crossover, Thomas's father, Keith, recounts how by age 10 his son was already playing against adults—and winning.
From Layden's story:
Since early childhood, Thomas has mixed his lack of height with a thunderous, unshakable drive. When he was between 10 and 14 years old, Isaiah would travel with his father, Keith, all over Tacoma for weekend pickup games—with adults. They would play at the People’s Community Center, at the Pearl Street YMCA and sometimes at McCord Air Force Base. “Isaiah was a little kid and most of the guys were grown men,” says Keith. “And Isaiah was cocky, and he had a smart mouth on him. He’d beat those guys and talk about it, and then they would want to fight him.”
"One night Thomas called his father from the lobby of the YMCA. “He said, ‘Dad, there’s a bunch of men outside waiting to fight me because I just beat them in a game,’” says Keith. Father picked up son and drove him home. Soon enough, it would happen again. Little boy kicking ass inside, big men waiting in the darkness for revenge.
Click here to read Layden's full profile on Thomas.