BOSTON (CBS) — Much to the chagrin of many Celtics fans, there will indeed be an Isaiah Thomas tribute video at the TD Garden on Feb. 11.
Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge passed along that tidbit during his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Thursday, just a few hours after he and Thomas crossed paths for the first time since Ainge sent the player to Cleveland in a summer blockbuster with the Cavaliers.
Thomas did not play on Wednesday night, one night after making his Cleveland debut following a seven-month recovery from a hip injury, but received a standing ovation from Celtics fans when he was shown on the big screen. There was no video tribute played per Thomas’ request, because he wanted his family to be there to see it. The Celtics granted his request.
The issue with playing the video next month when the two teams meet for their final regular season clash is it falls on the same day the Celtics will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34. The retirement ceremony will take place after the game, but many fans feel like a 90 second video for Thomas will take away from Pierce’s special day.
Ainge does not agree with that sentiment.
“It won’t interfere with Paul,” he said. “Paul understands.”
“That’s Pierce’s night. But I mean, the video ain’t the whole night,” Thomas told reporters on Wednesday.
Pierce was drafted by Boston and spent 15 seasons with the Celtics, earning Finals MVP honors when the C’s won it all in 2008. Isaiah only spent two-and-a-half seasons in green but helped turn the franchise around during their most recent rebuild, helping them morph into a fun and likable team on the rise.
For that, Ainge says their former All-Star deserves to be honored.
“It’ll be a great moment,” Ainge said. “Isaiah deserves it.”