If you haven't had a chance to read Isaiah Thomas' piece in The Players' Tribune, take a moment and do so, and then come back.
The piece titled "To a City Like No Other" and then simply "Boston" once opened, is essentially a letter from Thomas about Celtics fans, to Celtics fans . . . but is it really only to Celtics fans?
It's a great look into how Thomas learned he was traded to the Boston Celtics, how he felt about it, how others felt about it, and how he feels about it now.
Thomas hasn't been shy when it comes to trying to recruit players to Boston. He pops up on various social media outlets, talks with fellow NBA stars, and makes it known he'd like to bring some more serious talent to the city.
Consider this letter, in which he re-tweeted out to his 315,000 followers, Thomas' latest - and perhaps best - avenue to do just that. (And how about the major assist by Paul Pierce, who linked to it on his Facebook account, which is liked by over 3.7 million people.)
Professional athletes love The Players' Tribune because it lets them control the narrative. Many stars have written for it and many of them are affiliated with it.
And one of those superstars is Kevin Durant. Durant is actually listed as the Deputy Publisher, which according to USA Today means he's second in command amongst athletes behind the Founding Publisher, Derek Jeter. (Blake Griffin and Kevin Love are Senior Editors, fourth in command.)
Durant, as everybody knows, will be a free agent this offseason. Boston, as unlikely as it once seemed, feels like a great match.
And this letter from Thomas - which you have to assume Durant will read - can only help.
I'd like to take a couple key excerpts out from the letter. The first is Thomas talking about the send-off Celtics fans gave them as they were swept by the Cavaliers in the first round of last year's playoffs.
I’ll admit, it took us a while to find the silver linings in getting swept. We still lost four straight, and that’s tough to stomach. But when we were walking off the court at the Garden after Game 4, something happened that I had never seen before, anywhere.
The Boston fans got on their feet and started chanting, “Let’s go, Celtics!
They gave their team, who had just been swept, a standing ovation.
At that moment, I knew that this city was like no other. Even though the season was over, it felt like we were starting something.
Celtics fans did something similar back when the C's were blown out by the Heat in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.
It shows how much they care about their team, and something like that clearly isn't lost on players.
The next excerpt is the phone call Thomas got from Isiah Thomas upon hearing he was traded to the Celtics. Isiah Thomas knows very well how passionate Celtics fans are from his epic battles against Boston with the Pistons back in the 1980's. Those were "the days", as were the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Heck, the Celtics just honored three championship teams spanning 30 years. Most of those players' pictures line the walls of the TD Garden and all have helped raise banners. Isaiah Thomas mentioned that. Oh, so did Durant. OK, back to the letter:
Right after I got traded to Boston, I got a text from Isiah Thomas — the older one. It said, “This is the best thing that will ever happen to your career.”
I didn’t really know what he meant by that. So I called him up, and he broke it down for me.
“Now you’re gonna experience what real basketball is like, what real fans are like, what a real organization is like,” he said. “And they’re gonna fall in love with you more than any place you’ve ever been.”
It didn't take long for that to happen. (Oh, and thanks, Isiah.)
Thomas goes on to say how despite the fact he blends in well due to his size, he and his family are recognized everywhere in Boston - and he loves it.
You know who else puts a big emphasis on family atmosphere? You guessed it, Durant.
Towards the end of his letter, Thomas writes:
Older Isiah was right. Being in Boston has been the best thing that could have ever happened to my career. I can honestly say I feel blessed to be a part of this city and this organization.
You knew Isaiah Thomas could shoot, but damn, the kid can pitch too.
He's the biggest reason Boston is where they are today, and if this letter has anything to do with things, he may be the biggest reason they're much better next season.