Isaiah Thomas’s abrupt exit from Boston was a surprise to many in the sports world, including some of its biggest stars. While the NBA world was shaken by the move, friend of Thomas and centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox Mookie Betts was particularly upset.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe caught up with Betts after Tuesday night’s game in Cleveland, where the Red Sox were playing the Indians. Betts said he learned about the trade just before the game started Tuesday evening and was surprised by the move.
“It was kind of shocking. It didn’t think it was going to happen,” Betts said.
Betts made his debut with the Sox in 2014. Thomas was acquired by the Celtics six months later and the two became friends. Betts attended several Celtics games during the winter and spring, sitting courtside.
Abraham made comparisons between the two Boston stars, who are smaller for their size yet rose to stardom in Boston at the same time. Now, Betts is left behind in center field while the city swoons over new prize Kyrie Irving, a 25-year-old with plenty to prove for the Celtics.
It’s interesting how players become friends across sports and how they deal with it when those friends inevitably leave. Many have their own rooting interests in sports before they join teams in unfamiliar cities. It’s often those ties of friendship that truly make them fans of teams that play in the city they call home. Betts said he would still be a Celtics fan, but it’s definitely going to be different without Thomas.
“We’d text and check in on each other. He’s a good guy,” Betts said. “Love his game.”
As for the trade, Betts wasn’t sure what to make of it. But he’s still a Celtics fan and eager to see what Irving does.
“We’ll see how it plays out,” he said.
One good thing for Betts — Boston and Cleveland are almost certain to play each other a lot in the coming years. In both sports.