Isaiah Thomas' exit from the Boston Celtics after being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers has not been a pretty one despite the All-Star guard doing nothing wrong.
Videos of fans burning his jersey, for whatever reason, have gone viral and prompted responses from both NBA players around the league and analysts. Thomas, who was key in helping the Celtics turn into a contender once again, had no part in the trade.
NBA fans have burned jerseys in the past, but typically it's reserved for when a player demands a trade or leaves as a free agent. It makes little sense to disrespect Thomas, who gave all he could to Boston last season and even played in the playoffs one day after his sister tragically died.
Rational NBA fans have been critical of the jersey burning as well, and finally one Celtics fan finally got it right. This video of a fan paying his respects to how great Thomas was to the franchise is the perfect way to send off one of their key players:
That's a classy way to say thank you to Thomas, who played his heart out for Boston and throughout his entire career. Going from the last pick of the NBA Draft - dubbed Mr. Irrelevant in sports - to becoming one of the best scoring guards in the league is proof of how hard he works on the court.
The entire situation has led to a larger discussion regarding the expectations of loyalty from players compared to loyalty from teams. Many have questioned the Celtics trading a player who did as much for the franchise as Thomas did.
Former Celtics champion Ray Allen and Caron Butler exchanged their thoughts on the subject on Instagram, leading to both LeBron James and Chris Paul liking both posts:
For teams transactions like this are typically considered business as usual, and with Kyrie Irving available, it's not crazy for Boston to want to part ways for what the franchise perceives as an upgrade.
Fans being okay with teams searching for greener pastures, while criticizing players for doing the same, is a tough topic. Ultimately fans are typically fans of a team, and siding with said team in those situations comes from natural bias. It's not much different from teams putting loyal players on the trade market, though.
There'll never be an answer to this problem, but if fans could pay their respects to loyal players like this Celtics fans did, maybe that's a good starting point.News Now - Sport News