On Saturday, it was reported Isaiah Thomas’ sister, Chyna Thomas, passed away after a car accident in their home state of Washington. The All-Star guard insisted on playing in Game 1 of Celtics’ first-round matchup against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
He was welcomed onto the court by an emotional TD Garden crowd.
Thomas sat courtside moments before the game by himself. He was approached by a few Celtics staffers and teammates, including his backcourt mate, Avery Bradley, who came over to support him ahead of the game.
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters Thomas could set his own minutes, playing one or 40 if he wanted.
“We talked a little bit last night and then today about if he [plays the game], if he needs to not, whatever he wants,” Stevens said during his pregame press conference. “I think one of the things i’ve learned having been through situations in the past, there’s really no right or wrong answer. It’s whatever’s right for him.”
The Celtics had a moment of silence for Thomas’ sister before the game. Immediately after, fans began chanting “Go IT!” according to MassLive.com’s Jay King.
Moment of silence for Chyna Thomas. pic.twitter.com/IuzUtHhEbi— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) April 16, 2017
Thomas also wrote “Chyna,” “I love you,” and “R.I.P. Lil Sis” on the sneakers he wore for Game 1.