Toucher and Rich

BOSTON (CBS) — Getting traded is always tough for a professional athlete, but Isaiah Thomas is happy that he’s now a member of the Boston Celtics.

Thomas was long-coveted by Celtics president Danny Ainge, who was the first official to reach out to him when he became a free agent this past summer. Since coming to Boston, Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens have constantly reminded Thomas that he is exactly the kind of player this team needs.

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“They needed a player with the skills that I have. Danny Ainge has talked to me and coach has talked to me, and they continue to say, ‘We need a player who can play in the pick and roll, can make plays for himself and his teammates, and also a guy that can make plays in the fourth quarter.’ That’s right in my backyard,” Thomas told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday. “When they told me that, I figured I just have to go out and play. They put me in a position to be successful and the job is easy for me. I go play my game, knowing my teammates and coaches want me to be me.

“It gives you so much more confidence when your teammates and your coaching staff really believes in you.”

Standing at just 5-foot-9, Thomas has had his share of doubters throughout his playing career. But that just provides more fuel for the offensively gifted guard.

“My whole life I’ve been doubted. I’ve never been given anything and have always had to go in and take what I feel like was mine. That’s been my whole life and the definition of my career,” he said. “That’s what makes the story so much better in the end; I have to go in and take it.

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“That’s what makes me who I am and I love it,” Thomas continued. “I love competing and love everything about it. At the end of the day, if it’s the best man may win, I think I have a great chance of winning.”

Thomas has made a name for himself in his brief time in Boston, becoming an instant fan favorite thanks to the offensive jolt he provides the team. He’s averaged 20.1 points per game in seven games with the C’s, and earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday.

The 26-year-old said he loves to play for Brad Stevens — a player’s coach who lets his players go out and play — and the team in general has a college feel to it.

Thomas also said that people constantly think Isiah Thomas, the Hall of Fame guard who played for the Pistons, is his father. Though Thomas is named after the other Thomas and the two are close, they are not related. It’s something he deals with every game.

“Somebody always says, ‘Your dad was a horrible coach’ or, ‘You’ll never be as good as your dad.’ I just laugh it off,” said Thomas.

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