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And So It Begins: Dime’s NBA Draft Diary With Isaiah Thomas, Part 5

After leading Washington to back-to-back conference titles in the Pac-10 Tournament over the last two seasons, junior Isaiah Thomas (who also claimed back-to-back conference MOP honors in those same title runs) decided the time was right to test his talents on another level: the NBA. During his time in Seattle, the 5-9 guard was nothing short of an offensive force. After averaging 16.9 points and 3.9 assists a game as a sophomore, he returned this season to drop 16.8 and 6.1 per and navigate UW to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament. And as the kid embarks on his journey away from college and into the pros, we wanted to give him his own space, and voice, to roam. So, follow along with Isaiah on his Dime NBA Draft Diary and the start to his journey as a member of the Sacramento Kings…

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What’s up everybody? I’m back like I left my cell phone.

Since my last Dime diary, I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy out here during the lockout with workouts, Pro-Ams, community activities, etc. Here’s some of what I’ve been up to…

My big bro, Jamal Crawford, runs arguably the best Pro-Am in the country up in Seattle at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club. Every game is competitive, the crowd is always hyped, and all of the Seattle pros come out to play (Crawford, Spencer Hawes, Nate Robinson, Terrence Williams, Aaron Brooks, Brandon Roy, Will Conroy, etc.), as well as some others from around the country like John Wall. We also all work out together every Tuesday and Thursday, and keep each other motivated and in shape. Nobody wants to get shown up. It’s such a close-knit family amongst the pro basketball players out here. We all support each other and push each other to get better and to that next level. There are no egos, no jealousy and no negativity – we all just want to see each other succeed. I always wonder if other cities have what we have going on up in the Northwest. I’m putting it out there now: We would beat any of the other Pro-Am’s All-Stars with our All-Stars! Greater NC Pro-Am, Goodman League, Drew League, Wallace Prather, etc.

I also had a chance to play in the Wallace Prather Jr. Pro-Am playoffs while visiting ATL to workout with my big homie, “The Champ,” Jason Terry. The Pro-Am kind of reminded me of Jamal’s Pro-Am, as it was played at one of the local Boys & Girls Clubs/community centers, and the city really came out to show their love and support. There were also a lot of pros playing like Jarrett Jack, Derrick Favors, Louis Williams, Travis Leslie and Anthony Morrow. The team I was playing with lost in the semis to Williams’ team. It was a good game and I definitely learned a few vet tricks from Lou-Will. I had a great time down there and definitely plan on coming back next summer.

After leaving the ATL, I headed back home to Tacoma, Wash., where I joined a good friend of mine, and another person I look up to, Nate Robinson, for some boxing training. It was CRAZY! I never knew how much it takes out of you. It’s definitely something I see myself doing more often to stay in shape. Now I can see why people say boxers are some of the fittest athletes in the world. I have a totally different respect for that sport now.

While home, I had a chance to partner with a good friend of mine, Avery Bradley (the only other player from Tacoma to ever be drafted to the NBA), to bring one of the top up-and-coming rappers in the country, Nipsey Hussle, to Tacoma to perform. It was CRAZY! He’s definitely one of my favorite rappers and his mixtape, The Marathon, is like a soundtrack to my life right now. It’s about putting in the hard work to get where you want to go and not ever forgetting where you came from.

The next afternoon, I worked with two-time All-Star and good friend of mine, Brandon Roy, to host my first annual “Back To School Backpack Giveaway/BBQ” in Tacoma. It felt so good to give back to the city that made me. My hometown means so much to me and it’s just an honor and a blessing to be able to give back to the community. To see the smiles on the faces of the kids and families we were helping was priceless. We had barbers cutting hair, great food and handed out hundreds of backpacks full of school supplies.

This week I was in Boston at the Reebok headquarters with the rest of the Reebok fam (Terry, Wall, Jameer Nelson and Ramon Sessions), working and hanging out with a few high school players who earned their way up here from the Reebok Breakout Camp. It was a great experience and is always fun to hang out with the guys. I got a chance to meet the team who make things happen at Reebok, as well as take in the Red Sox-Yankees game. I saw my first homerun in person, as well as my first bench clearing! I had a blast up there.

Now that I’m back, it’s immediately back to the grind as I’ve got a couple youth basketball camps coming up – the first one being this weekend in Seattle. You can check them out HERE.

Until next time…

-Zeke

Follow Isaiah on Twitter at @Isaiah_Thomas2.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

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