HOUSTON – There is a glow on Isaiah Thomas‘ face this Friday. After being snubbed initially for tonight’s rookie/sophomore game, the Sacramento Kings guard was all smiles as he waded through the hoards of fans and media at jam session of this year’s All-Star festivities.
It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Thomas, filled with media circuit tours and appearances at charitable functions upon his arrival in the lonestar state. His schedule this weekend suggests that he’s made it or that he’s arrived, but Thomas continues to carry himself otherwise. He hasn’t had time to let the feeling sink in that he’s set to take a very special stage later this evening.
“Not yet,” Thomas told the hoards of media before his squad, Team Chuck took the court for practice this morning at the George R. Brown Convention Center. ”It probably will later tonight. I could definitely tell you my parents have looked around and said ‘my son is at All-Star Weekend’.”
He’s not nervous either. That’s not a surprise. Thomas has always oozed confidence every time he’s stepped onto the court. In a game featuring the league’s top first and second year players, he believes his size, which many deem his greatest weakness, won’t be a detriment to him tonight.
“My mom and my girlfriend keep asking me, ‘aren’t you nervous?’” Thomas said. “This is a game that is going to work in my favor. This is a high scoring game that little guys like to play well in, so I’m not nervous at all.”
On this stage and this weekend, Thomas is also a perfect spokesman for the Kings. He’s well-spoken, poised and he’s an excellent communicator. With all the drama surrounding his team both on and off-the-court, the Kings couldn’t have had a better ambassador representing them this weekend.
In Houston, the Kings’ possible transformation into the Seattle SuperSonics, his childhood team, is a hot button topic. Though it’s been beaten to death in Sacramento, reporters from across the country and world are exploring the same angles with Thomas that have been posed to him in the capital city.
But the speculation isn’t stopping with the media. This weekend, Thomas has gotten plenty of inquiries from fellow players about the uncertainty of the Kings.
“It’s not going to stop until there’s a decision made,” Thomas said reflectively of the numerous questions about Sacramento’s future as an NBA city. ”And I’m fine with that. I know how to answer the question.”
Thomas has also had to set the record straight about teammates. Players, media and those who’ve descended upon Houston this weekend all want to know about DeMarcus Cousins. Is he really as bad as his reputation suggests? The Kings starting point guard has given them all the same answer.
“Everybody thinks DeMarcus is crazy,” he said with a smile. “That’s not true. DeMarcus is normal man. DeMarcus is a funny guy. Just on the court, he shows his emotions and he’s an emotional guy. But DeMarcus is my right-hand man, I love that guy to death. I try to tell people he’s not as crazy as he seems. He’s a great guy.”
All the issues and uncertainty surrounding Thomas gets set aside later tonight, at least for 48 minutes. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge tips off at 6 pm PT from the Toyota Center here in Houston.