In case you didn't know it, Isaiah Thomas is short. That was the premise for bringing the 5-foot-9 Nuggets point guard on Kevin Hart's show, Laugh Out Loud network's Cold as Balls. Hart is legit short—5-foot-4—instead of just NBA short, but they bonded over their stature while soaking in ice water (get it?) in the 14-minute episode.
At first Hart pretended Isaiah Thomas was Isiah Thomas of Pistons fame, but eventually, he got around to asking for the list of Isaiah's top 5 point guards. Somewhat controversially, Isaiah put himself first, followed by Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Damian Lillard. He angered his fans still in Boston by leaving off Kyrie Irving (he later put him in Wall's spot, but the damage was done), and everyone else with eyeballs for putting himself in a tier above the league's first-ever unanimous MVP, and the first player since the 1960s to average a triple-double for a season.
Thomas was an MVP candidate during a remarkable 2016-17 campaign for the Celtics, when he averaged a career-high 28.9 points per game and the somewhat hyperbolic "King in the Fourth" nickname. Isaiah showed even more grit and skill when he dropped 53 points against the Wizards in the 2016 Conference semifinals less than two weeks after his sister tragically died in a car crash.
But Steph and Russ are actual MVP winners, and Curry has two of them to go along with three rings in four years and the universally excepted distinction of being the greatest shooter ever to walk the corporeal plane. Russ is a coiled spring ready to unleash hydrokinetic fury on any player who dares challenge him. Isaiah Thomas is an incredible person and player who overcame insane odds as the last pick in the draft to become a two-time all-star and All-NBA selection. It's not a slight difference, but a wide enough gulf we're now writing about it.
Isaiah knows this, but it's not empty posturing. He's merely expressing the type of unshakable confidence the rest of us chalk up to insanity and ego, but which he's used as fuel to prove doubters wrong. We hope he proves us wrong too because he got screwed by Boston while becoming the poster child for the ridiculous chimera that is a pro athlete's fealty to a franchise.