Every pair of friends that plays sports together growing up dreams about both making it to the pros and playing on the same team, but very few get the chance to live out that dream. We’ve seen a few instances of childhood friends being paired together in the NBA, most recently with Dwight Howard and Josh Smith in Houston.
Kevin Love and Isaiah Thomas are one of those rare duos that grew up on the AAU circuit together that have both reached the NBA, and while they haven’t found themselves on the same franchise, this weekend in New Orleans they can say they were teammates as NBA All-Stars for the Eastern Conference (even though Love won’t be able to play due to recent knee surgery).
Their friendship goes all the way back to when they were in sixth grade and played on the same AAU team. Thomas told a story recently on The Vertical Podcast with Woj about taking the train from Tacoma, Washington to Portland, Oregon to stay with Love and his family so he could play on that AAU team.
“Kevin and his dad Stan, they would come pick me up and I would stay the weekend at his house so I could play on that AAU team,” Thomas said, as transcribed by MassLive. “It’s something that me and Kevin, we’ll talk about. It’s crazy that we’re both in the NBA and he is at the level he’s at, and I’m doing pretty well. To be able to say that I used to go to his house every other weekend and stay the night, and his parents used to cook dinner, and all that type of thing, it’s crazy to see that.”
A picture of the two from the 2005 ABCD camp (which featured other future NBA players like Greg Oden, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley, Brandon Jennings, Lance Thomas, Lance Stephenson, Ekpe Udoh, Cole Aldrich and more) surfaced thanks to a Stony Brook University coach. It shows the two young friends hanging out on the sidelines when they were just 16 years old.
Thomas, who is one of the league’s shortest guards, looks like a little kid next to the baby-faced Love. Now, those two kids that were trying to make a name for themselves at a basketball camp 12 years ago are set to be NBA All-Star teammates.