At a time where Boston Celtics all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas should be grieving the loss of his sister, he opted to suit up and play in the Boston Celtics’ first game of the 2017 NBA playoffs. However, the Washington Post reports that he was struggling to play, and he was seen crying on the sideline.
The day before the Boston Celtics were due to play against the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden, Isaiah’s sister, Chyna J. Thomas, 22, was killed in a one-vehicle car accident at around 5 a.m. on Interstate 5.
According to the Washington State Patrol, Thomas’ sister was traveling on Interstate 5 in her 1998 Toyota Camry in Federal Way when her vehicle suddenly veered off the road and struck a metal pole.
Chyna was pronounced dead at the scene after crashing head-on into a pole, and she was not wearing a seat, authorities say.
Isaiah’s sister, who was a student at the Tacoma School of Arts and worked as a FedEx delivery person, was driving to her home in Tacoma when the fatal accident occurred. A witness stated that they saw her silver vehicle drift to the shoulder, leaving the roadway and crashing into a pole.
Investigators hinted that she may have fallen asleep as there were no signs of impairment.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Nick King stated that when Chyna drove along a cement barrier, it caused her vehicle to become airborne, ultimately striking a metal pole which caused Isaiah’s sister’s death.
When the Boston Celtics point guard learned of his sister’s death during a practice session with his Celtics teammates, he was unable to function during his first game of 2017.
Before the game, the Celtics held a moment of silence for Chyna, where Isaiah became overwhelmed with emotions. He was later seen crying on the bench, and his Boston Celtics teammate, Avery Bradley, wrapped his arm around him, consoling him.
Isaiah paid tribute to his sister by writing, “Rip Lil Sis,” “Chyna,” and “I love you” on his shoes for game one.
— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) April 17, 2017
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, “Obviously, it’s tragic circumstances that he and his family are going through right now. Our thoughts, first and foremost are with them.”
“We’ve talked a little bit last night and then again today [that] as he goes through it and if he feels like he needs to not [play] — then whatever he wants.”
An emotional Isaiah Thomas was introduced by the Celtics to a standing ovation ahead of tonight's game vs. the Bullspic.twitter.com/ibk195BpGt
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) April 16, 2017
During the pregame show, TNT commentator Charles Barkley stated that he was “uncomfortable” watching Thomas cry on the sideline over his sister’s death. He said, “I’m not sure what to say — I’m not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline crying like that.”
“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.”
— Famouslos32 (@famouslos32) April 16, 2017
Shaquille O’Neal stated that when he gave his condolences and wishing him well after the Boston Celtics point guard’s sister died in a car accident, he stated that he seemed “very down.”
Chyna’s father, James Thomas, spoke with the media and stated that it is a “crucial time” for the family and he did not know when the Boston Celtics player would be flying to Tacoma to be with his family.
Chyna’s car accident is under investigation.
[Featured Image by Chuck Burton/AP Images]