As Jamaal Wallace told us in Finding Forrester, "Losing family obliges us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood." For Isaiah Thomas, the tragedy of losing his sister has propelled him to deliver incredible performances this post season, willing the Celtics to victory over these last few games. In the process, his family has expanded to include teammates, Celtics fans, NBA fans and people all over the world whose support of Isaiah grows with each performance.
And after tonight's amazing performance in which he scored 53 points on what would have been his sister Chyna's 23rd birthday, Thomas' following continues to flourish.
Thomas lost his sister, Chyna, two weeks ago in a car accident and since then, he has dedicated the remainder of the season to her and her memory. Watching him play is an amazing experience, but understanding why he plays with such heart, passion and determination makes it even more special. Even another hard fall to the floor, complete with a face plant that could have cost him another front tooth, couldn't stop Isaiah from bringing the Celtics back and ultimately winning Game 2 in overtime.
In the post game interview, David Aldridge asked Isaiah about his performance, a night in which he scored a total of 29 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined:
"Where is this coming from?" asked Aldridge.
"My sister." replied Thomas. "It's her birthday today. Happy Birthday. She would have been 23 today, so everything I do is for her and she's watching over me. So that's all her."
So while Chyna watches over her brother from above, the rest of his family watches from the court, sidelines, arena and living rooms, wishing him nothing but the best as he continues to find some comfort through victory co-captained by his sister.