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Monday, April 12, 2021

How Isaiah Thomas will honor Kobe Bryant as he makes NBA return with Pelicans

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Isaiah Thomas is bringing a “Mamba Mentality” to New Orleans.

The Pelicans announced Saturday that that they had signed Thomas to a 10-day contract, giving the veteran guard an opportunity to be a part of an NBA rotation for the primary time in additional than a 12 months. Thomas final performed in an NBA sport on Feb. 3, 2020, as a member of the Wizards. He averaged 12.2 factors and three.7 assists in 40 video games that season.

MORE: Kobe’s 81-point game was only a part of his greatest scoring run

In becoming a member of the Pelicans, Thomas is hoping to not solely revitalize his skilled profession, but additionally to honor certainly one of his basketball heroes. The 2-time All-Star plans to put on the No. 24 as a tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. (Thomas had beforehand worn Nos. 0, 3, 4, 7 and 22.)

Thomas has credited Bryant for uplifting and serving to him all through his profession, most notably throughout the 2017 NBA playoffs. Bryant broke down movie with Thomas on the time even though Thomas was taking part in for the rival Celtics.

“We might be on FaceTime watching movie collectively on speakerphone,” Thomas stated of his chats with Bryant (via NBA.com). “He would inform me what he sees, what I can do and what I can do higher to have the ability to get my workforce a win. That was all through the entire playoffs. That was particular to me, as a result of to have the ability to have Kobe Bryant discuss to you and assist you to out is superb, particularly for me. That was my favourite participant rising up. . . .

“It was loopy, as a result of I by no means even thought of basketball like that. After which once I began to assume like that, I’d see it earlier than it occurred within the sport and I’d assume, ‘Rattling, Kobe actually simply advised me that final night time.'”

After a extremely productive run in Boston, Thomas struggled to get well from a hip harm, making transient stops in Cleveland, Los Angeles (with the Lakers) and Denver earlier than touchdown in Washington. He confirmed NBA groups that he nonetheless had one thing left within the tank when he performed for Crew USA final month in FIBA AmeriCup qualifying video games.

“The world is aware of I’ve bought what it takes. So, it is nearly exhibiting that I am wholesome,” Thomas said after scoring 19 factors in a win over the Bahamas. “My talent did not go anyplace, it was nearly getting one hundred percent wholesome, which I’m proper now.”

Kobe would definitely respect the self-confidence.

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