Feb. 17, the Washington Huskies retired the number two jersey of the two-time NBA all-star and former UW Husky basketball player, Isaiah Thomas. The jersey was retired during halftime of the game between the Washington Huskies and Colorado Buffaloes.
Thomas attended the proceedings at the Alaska Airlines Arena before the game started, wearing the signature UW purple vest. He was honored with a video tribute during halftime, which showed the highlights of his Husky career. After the video concluded he went on to give his appreciation speech to the UW fans.
“First of all, I want to say thank you, it’s an honor for this day to come,” Thomas said. “As most of you know, I grew up south of here in Tacoma. Driving the I-5 down to Seattle for basketball practice was a regular occurrence for me as a kid. Every now and then I come up to watch the Huskies play.”
Named after the Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas, Thomas was born and raised in Tacoma. He attended Curtis Senior High School and then South Kent School to finish his studies. There he averaged 31.2 points in basketball as a junior and declared his intention to join University of Washington in 2006.
Isaiah Thomas played for the Washington Huskies basketball team from 2008 to 2011. The 5-foot-9-inch point guard averaged 16.4 points and four assists during his college basketball tenure for UW. He is well remembered for making the game winning shot against Arizona for the conference championship.
“I had always dreamed that I would put that jersey on and go head to head against UCLAs, Oregons, Arizonas and be the guy that kids are coming to watch and cheer for,” Thomas said. “I never really considered playing anywhere else, home was where I wanted to be.”
The former Celtic and Cavalier couldn’t contain his excitement and gratitude towards the UW community that helped him progress. He thanked everyone, including his family and friends for his NBA career and the fact that he was able to graduate from UW with a degree.
In his elevation to professional stardom, Thomas went from the last pick in the second round of the draft in 2011 to the third highest scorer in the 2016-2017 NBA season. He even ended up No. 5 in the MVP voting of the same NBA season. During his speech, Thomas was quick to remember his late sister, who tragically died last year during the NBA playoffs.
“Finally, I’d like to thank God for everything. It’s never been easy, it still isn’t, but He has blessed me over and over again and today is just one example. This one is for my little sister, I wish she was here right now to celebrate this special moment. I love and miss you,” Thomas said. “Thank you again, I love you guys and go Dawgs!”