How Isaiah Thomas will celebrate while Kobe Bryant returns with the NBA Pelicans
Isaiah Thomas is bringing the “Mamba mentality” to New Orleans.
The Pelicans announced Saturday Thomas signed a 10-day contract, allowing the veteran guard to be in the NBA rounds for more than a year for the first time. Thomas last played in an NBA game on February 3, 2020, as a member of the Wizards. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 40 games that season.
Joining the Pelicans team, Thomas hopes to not only revive his professional career, but also pay tribute to one of the basketball heroes. Twice All-Star wants to wear number 24 as a tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 (Thomas previously wore numbers 0, 3, 4, 7 and 22)
Thomas has acknowledged Bryant for his inspiration and support throughout his career, especially in the 2017 NBA playoffs. Bryant broke up with Thomas at the time as Thomas played with his Celtics opponent.
“We would be on FaceTime watching the movie together on the speaker,” Thomas said of his conversations with Bryant (Via NBA.com). “He would tell me what he sees, what I can do and what I can do better so that my team can win. That was in every playoff. It was special for me to be able to have Kobe Bryant. It’s great to talk and help with you, especially for me. That was my favorite player I was growing up with …
“It was wonderful because I never even thought about basketball like that. Then when I started thinking like that, I would look at it before it happened in the game and think, ‘Damn, Kobe really told me that last night.’
After being very prolific in Boston, Thomas struggled to recover from a hip injury before making short stops in Cleveland, Los Angeles (with the Lakers) and Denver before landing in Washington. He showed the NBA teams that he still had something left in the tank last month when he played for Team USA in the FIBA AmeriCup standings.
“The world knows what I need. So it’s just a matter of showing that I’m healthy.” Thomas said After winning 19 points after winning the Bahamas. “My skill wasn’t going anywhere. Right now I’m just being one hundred percent healthy.”
Kobe would appreciate his self-confidence.