While tragedy is often said to put sport in perspective, it often does the opposite: in times of great strife, sport magnifies the best of human character. Boston Celtics point guard Isiah Thomas played against the Bulls last night, a day after his sister Chyna had been killed in a one-vehicle accident in Washington. She was killed when her Toyota Camry collided head-on with a sign-post. She was just 22.
In spite of such incomprehensible grief, Thomas decided to play for the Celtics against Chicago last night, in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs. He scored team-high 33 points in a remarkable performance, that was ultimately not enough to prevent a 106-102 defeat for Boston.
Before the game, Thomas wept openly courtside, and was highly emotional when being introduced to the crowd ahead of the game:
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 16, 2017
He played nonetheless, in trainers bearing a message to his late sister.
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) April 17, 2017
The entire arena rose to their feet when Thomas drained his first basket in the first quarter:
The little guy with the big heart drains one from DEEP. pic.twitter.com/bTAI6Xvpf1
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 16, 2017
While ultimately Thomas' singular bravery did not avoid a narrow defeat, Thomas was heralded for his performance, with head coach Brad Stevens saying that Thomas is an "amazing, amazing, amazing player, an amazing person".