Just seven games into his career as a Boston Celtic, Isaiah Thomas has already won over the majority of fans with his deep shooting, hustle, and fearlessness in the paint. He's shown the ability to make contested 3-pointers over taller defenders, and that he'll have no problem getting shots up in the lane when needed.
At 5'9", that's part of the excitement with Thomas. His heart and athleticism supersede the height disadvantage, and it makes for quite the show.
Muggsy Bogues played 14yrs in the NBA.... Earl Boykins has played 11yrs in the NBA.... Spud Webb played 13yrs in the NBA...— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) December 17, 2010
People doubting him due to his height is nothing new for Thomas. He's dealt with that his entire career. The above tweet was likely a message to his doubters as he prepared to enter the NBA Draft. A message that others had done it, and so could he.
But after defying his haters with a good rookie season for the Sacramento Kings, Thomas had struggles as defenders started adjusting how they were guarding him in his sophomore season. While trying to escape the Sacramento Kings' woes as well as his own, he started to question how a guy his height could consistently get it done in the NBA.
Who better to turn to for guidance in that situation than the shortest player of all time, the 5'3" Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues.
Can somebody get me in contact with Muggsy Bogues?? Def somebody I would love to talk to about having a LONG career in the NBA— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) September 20, 2011
(fast forward to 5:08 to hear Muggsy on mentoring I.T.)
Thomas pays respect to the vertically challenged players of past, and they pay it right back to him. Muggsy seems humbled that he'd even be called on by Thomas for such insight. It has to be rare for a player at Isaiah's age(26) to have that kind of mature outlook on his future just four years into his pro career.
According to SacTown Royalty (Kings) blog, Thomas has also referenced to Nate Mcmillan, Jason Terry, Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Gary Payton, Damon Stoudemire and his namesake Isiah Thomas as mentors who have taken him under their tutelage.
Another point guard Thomas has reached out to for advice? Jameer Nelson.
via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: Asked how he'd describe Nelson, Thomas answered,
A guy that paved the way for me. It's always good when you have somebody like Jameer do what he did and to be selected in the first round and to have the career he's had, because it helps younger guys like me.
Thomas knows the ones who walked the path before him, and he feels indebted to guys like Spud Webb, Earl Boykins, and Muggsy Bogues. Another I.T. quote from the Orlando Sentinel:
My whole life they always said I wasn't going to make it, They always said I'm not that good because I'm small. It's frustrating, because it's not about how tall you are, how big you are, how small you are.
Knew there was something I liked about this kid. Currently the shortest in the league, it's refreshing to see his willingness to seek out a veteran's advice on how to further elongate his career. This just shows you what kind of humble character Thomas is. He's confident, but full of himself? Never.
He was the last pick in the draft (60th overall) in 2011. He realizes the odds are stacked against him, but if he has to reach out for help along the way he certainly has the right connections in the rolodex to answer the call.
Celtics Trivia Bonus: Thomas and Nate Robinson both are listed at 5'9". Though even if you broke out the measuring tape, neither would land as the shortest Boston Celtics player of all time. That would be Mel Hirsch (5'6").
Top photo - Winslow Townson/Associated Press
Kings photo- Christian Peterson/Getty Images
Jameer photo- Kim Klement USA Today
follow Tob on twitter: @muggsytobs muggsytobs 3/06/2015 01:08:00 AM Tweet Edit