On Sunday, before game one between the Bulls and Celtics, Isaiah Thomas was seen on the sideline in tears as he deals with the death of his sister Chyna; who died in a one-car accident on Saturday.
When it comes to death, each person deals with it differently. The tough part for Thomas is his family is across the country in Washington. He has his teammates, but he probably needs his family. If you look at Thomas by the numbers, he did what he has done throughout the course of the season. He finished with 33 pts, 5 rebs, and 6 assists
Hall of Famer Charles Barkley had this to say on TNT’s Inside the NBA when he saw Thomas on the sideline in tears:
“I’m not sure what to say — I’m not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline crying like that,” Barkley said on the pregame show. “That makes me uncomfortable. So that tells me he’s not in shape to play. I mean, I don’t know how this night is going to turn out, but to be sitting on the sideline a few minutes before the game, crying, that just makes me uncomfortable for him.
“That’s just not a good look for him, in my personal opinion. I mean, he is clearly devastated, like we all would be if we lost a sibling, but sitting on the sideline right before the game, that makes me uncomfortable.”
In reality, most people were probably uncomfortable watching Thomas cry on the bench. It is never comfortable to see someone in pain. The obvious questions would be: Is he ready to play? Should he be with his family? No one can answer those questions, but Thomas. Basketball might be the best thing for him right now. It is a two plus hour distraction. You wonder how the funeral will be handled, and whether Thomas will go back to Washington in-between games one and two (Game two on Tuesday). It would not be unreasonable if Thomas decided to shut it down for the next few games. Do I think he would do that? Probably not, but he would not be wrong.
In the end, Thomas has to do whatever works best for him. No matter how comfortable we are with his decision.
Prayers to Isaiah Thomas and his family.
Update: According to Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens, Thomas will play in games two and three.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 16, 2017