Cavaliers’ Isaiah Thomas Chronicles ‘Best Year of Career and Worst Year of Life’ in Documentary Series
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Wanting people to get a window into his life, showing all the obstacles that he has overcome — and continues to encounter — on and off the court, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas released his long-awaited project “Book of Isaiah II” on Thursday.
The series, shot by his close friend and filmmaker T.J. Regan and released on The Players’ Tribune platform — the site where Thomas first shared his reaction to the blockbuster trade that brought him to Cleveland in August — will chronicle the last eight-plus months for Thomas as he faces the challenge of playing for a new team.
Each chapter will feature behind-the-scenes footage, with Thomas narrating the story along the way.
“Had the best year of my career and the worst year of my life at the same time,” Thomas said in the video. “But if you watch this or somehow look deeper into it you can figure out who I am.”
The first chapter, titled “Hindsight,” begins on Aug. 21 with Thomas on his phone explaining to someone how the trade call with Boston executive Danny Ainge went down before eventually flashing back to the moments that helped define Thomas’ All-Star season.
Courage is not in a man's skill set, yet in his soul.
“Last season I was in the best shape of my career,” Thomas said. “I knew I was going to have a career year. I worked my butt off in the off-season to put myself in position to have the best season I possibly could and that’s what happened. It was a great year individually, but it was a great year for me to be able to be that franchise player and grow into a superstar that I always envisioned myself being.”
The bulk of the backdrop in Chapter 1 is the 2017 NBA playoffs, which started with the Celtics being the overlooked No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and ended with Thomas sidelined because of a hip injury.
But as has been the case for Thomas throughout his life, there were plenty of unexpected moments along the way, including the April death of his sister, Chyna.
“There was no option of not playing,” Thomas said. “That’s just what I was going to do, no matter what. The people that helped me were my family — my parents, my close friends, the Celtics organization, Brad Stevens, coaching staff, my teammates and so many guys reached out. Floyd Mayweather, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant. I remember Kobe texting me and calling me and telling me nobody can tell you what to do, but if you do play then play to be the killer that you are and leave it all out there on the floor. I took that to heart.”
The future chapters are expected to chronicle more of his tumultuous off-season and the rehab process for his hip. Perhaps even his upcoming return.
After initially getting injured in March, with Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns landing on him awkwardly, Thomas played through it and made things worse. Eventually, he was shut down in the conference finals against the Cavs.
“I played until I literally couldn’t run anymore,” Thomas said. “Just wish I was able to be healthy and be able to give more because I felt like we could have won that series.
“I was going to play till the end and I literally did that.”
A few months later, the Celtics sent him to Cleveland in a surprising blockbuster deal for Kyrie Irving. Then came chatter about Thomas’ uncertain future, whether he was “damaged goods” and the numerous opinions about which team won the trade — all of the clips played in the first nine-minute mini-doc.
This platform allows Thomas to tell his own story.
“The things you may have read about me do not define me,” he said. “But you really don’t know who I am.”