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Appreciation through the lens of Isaiah Thomas and a non-Celtics fan

A fond farewell to a terrific site and even better teammates.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 season has been a rollercoaster to say the least. From the birth of Time Lord and B.W.A, all the way to winning streaks and a lack of fun, this Boston Celtics team has given us a little bit of everything. Say what you want about this group, but man, they’ve been interesting. Good or bad, it’s always interesting with the guys in green.

Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets was full of missed opportunities on the court, but also showed how special this franchise and city really is. It sounds quite homer-ish, but this is coming from someone who isn’t a Celtics fan. In fact, I’m a tortured Washington Wizards fan - so if anything, this comes from a place of envy.

Isaiah Thomas was a superstar in Boston. Before the hypothetical Brinks truck could arrive, the 5-foot-9 guard was shipped off to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving. From there, Thomas would deal with a nagging hip injury that would ultimately change his game for good. After a brief stop in Los Angeles, Thomas would end up in Denver, where he would eventually be removed from the team’s rotation after just nine games under Mike Malone. It’s another mark in what has been a tough stretch for the former MVP candidate.

When he returned to Boston earlier this week, it was all love, as Thomas put it. Following the Nuggets’ Sunday workout at Emerson College, the 30-year-old stuck around to play pickup with some students. When IT hit the parquet on Monday night for warmups, he was sporting green and gold shoes, which he would later share were to be worn in the 2017 NBA Finals had the Celtics gotten past the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Reporters surrounded Thomas during his pre- and post-game media availabilities, as he reflected on his love and appreciation for the Celtics organization, their fans, and the city of Boston. He spoke about the possibility of returning to play for the Celtics before the end of his career, while also talking about how the franchise and city embraced him during one of his toughest times following the death of his sister. The Celtics reciprocated the feelings with a tremendous tribute video during the first quarter that brought Thomas to the verge of tears. It was all love, all praise, and all appreciation, from both sides.

There are exceptions, but this sort of relationship between a team/city and player is pretty rare in professional sports these days. The business aspect of the game is extremely high on the totem pole, but even that hasn’t gotten in the way of the mutual love between Boston and IT.

If you take away anything from Monday’s game, it should be how special this franchise really is. There’s not many organizations in professional sports that can make a player say he’d like to come back, while simultaneously wearing the opponent’s uniform, but the Celtics made Isaiah Thomas feel right at home.

Being able to experience Celtics organization, its fanbase, and its rich history first-hand is something I’m extremely grateful for. Jeff Clark gave me that opportunity here at CelticsBlog, and I cannot thank him enough for that. As you all know, CB provides the best Celtics content out there, and it’s all thanks to the phenomenal team of contributors. From someone who has now seen it from both sides, I am infinitely jealous of Celtics fans worldwide.

This week I began a new job at NESN as a Content Producer. I’ll still be covering the Celtics, but it’ll now be alongside the Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins, amongst other national stories. I’ll miss my awesome teammates here at CB, but I have no doubt they’ll continue to do a tremendous job. Thanks to everyone who has followed along and read my work on this great site, it means more than you know.

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