SLAM: Have fun at the Rising Stars Challenge?
Isaiah Thomas: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Fun to be a part of the game.
SLAM: At some point you started gunning. Looked like you were trying to make a real impact.
IT: Little bit. In every game I try to make an impact, so I try to just be me. Go out there and play hard and have fun and do it with a smile on my face.
SLAM: The Reebok partnership seems to have been pretty successful.
IT: Yeah, it’s been great. They’ve been great to me. I love the shoes. Glad they’re bringing back all the retros now.
SLAM: I’m trying to figure out, age-wise, if you were old enough to remember any of those guys [points to a board with Shaq, Dee Brown and Shawn Kemp on it].
IT: I remember the Shaqnosis, yeah.
SLAM: What do you remember about Shawn Kemp from when you were young?
IT: Just Kevin Calabro commentating, Gary Payton throwing alley-oops to Shawn Kemp. That was the memories for me. Lob City before there was Lob City—those were probably the two most exciting players in the NBA.
SLAM: When you were in grade school everyone must have wanted to be those guys.
IT: Yeah, Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, that’s all you wanted to be. You wore the Glove shoes or you had the Reebok Kamikazes. And you wanted to be them. If you were a guard you wanted to be Gary Payton; if you were a big man you wanted to dunk like Shawn Kemp and do the point. It’s crazy seeing those guys now—whenever they’re in Seattle people love them, still.
SLAM: Did you have a Sonics jersey when you were little?
IT: I had a Gary Payton jersey. But I had the Reign Man poster on my wall, where he was dunking and there was lightning coming down. I had that.
SLAM: It’s gotta be extra cool that all this came together with you being from the Seattle area and wearing sneakers that became huge in Seattle.
IT: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, you always think about it. You think about what it would be like to play in Seattle, just growing up in Seattle and growing up a Sonics fan. But at the same time, I can’t worry too much about it, because I’m a Sacramento King right now. The situation I’m in, I sort can’t really comment on it too much.
SLAM: It seems like you have to tip-toe around it.
SLAM: But it would be unfair to expect you to not have a little bit of a bias.
IT: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And then like I told people, if I say something about Seattle, Sacramento will be upset. And if I say something about Sacramento, Seattle will be upset. I love both fan bases. Only thing I can control is going out there and playing, and whatever happens, happens.
SLAM: Any goals for yourself over the next few months of the season?
IT: Just be better than I have the first half of the season. I don’t really have too many personal goals—just win more games, first and foremost, and get career-highs in points, assists, rebounds. Maybe get my first career triple-double.
SLAM: I saw you’re doing a video series.
IT: Yeah, it’s gonna be a documentary once the story dies down. It’s been on the rise, and everywhere I go people keep asking me, “When’s your documentary coming out?”
SLAM: What do you mean, “dies down”?
IT: Like, there’s always something that makes the story that much better. So like, me starting, then not playing, getting DNPs, and now I’m in the rookie-sophomore game. Little stuff like that.
SLAM: But that stuff could be happening in waves for the rest of your career.
IT: Yeah, I know. We never know, and we can’t put a real date on it, but we have a lot [of footage] since before the Draft, and my last year of college.
SLAM: Do you speak to Nate Robinson a lot?
IT: Oh yeah, all the time. He had a dunk the other game, so that’s all he’s been talking about. We have a little bet going on for whoever has the most dunks. He has one; I have zero. I gotta try to get me one. At least attempt one.
SLAM: If you get up alone on a fast break…
IT: I’ll get one if I get the timing. It’s just people always chase me down thinking they’re gonna block my shot, so I don’t get time to get my feet right.
SLAM: You guys talk about the team maybe moving to Seattle?
IT: Yeah, always. All the Seattle guys—Jamal [Crawford]. We talk about it. They want to play back there too, at least once or twice a year. They talk about it. It’s up in the air.