Stardom is on horizon for Kings’ Thomas

Staff writerMay 20, 2014 

Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) has steadily improved over his first three years in the NBA. With his rookie deal expiring, the young talent should expect a substantial pay increase.

MARLIN LEVISON/MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

up-and-comer comes home

Isaiah Thomas is getting big.

No, he is not growing, per se. He will always be the short kid from Curtis High School who could shoot a basketball from anywhere on the court — who then went on to the University of Washington, and now is in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings.

It is Thomas’ aura and popularity that is expanding. Last season, in his third year, the point guard’s production exploded — 20.3 points, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.7 minutes a game as the Kings’ starter.

At a salary of just under $900,000, he was certainly a bargain. Now that his three-year rookie contract is about to expire, he will become a restricted free agent in July. Expect the big-contract bidding to begin shortly thereafter.

Off the court, his profile has certainly reached celebrity status. He is close friends with boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. He has his own custom-made Reebok Kamikaze brand of basketball shoe. Heck, there is even an “Isaiah’s Morning Breakfast” menu entry at a local café in Sacramento.

“It is just two scrambled eggs, four strips of bacon — chewy — French toast and a side of grapes,” Thomas said.

Thomas, 25, has never shied away from the attention. He often holds spontaneous question-and-answer sessions on Twitter. He loves kids, evidenced by the fact he continues to run summer youth-skills basketball camps up and down the West Coast, including one in Tacoma in June.

And he has added another public event in his backyard, which is scheduled for this weekend — The Memorial Day Zeke-End BBall Tournament at Foss High School.

“When I am home, (the attention) has been like this since high school, so it’s not anything new,” Thomas said. “When I got to college, it got a little bit bigger. And now, when I go to airports, it is weird people recognize me from so far away. It comes with the business, and I consider myself blessed.”

Thomas said he will be in the Puget Sound area most of the summer. He has a residence in Renton — close to Boeing, where his father, James, works. During lunch, James often comes over to visit Thomas’ two sons – Jaiden (3) and James (2).

“They are always with me,” Thomas said.

Yet, Thomas isn’t so famous in his own household that he is known as anybody but “Dad” with his two sons.

“I don’t think they know (I am an NBA up-and-comer), but they love going to games,” Thomas said. “They even wear my jersey now and then.”

ISAIAH THOMAS HOME EVENTS

ZEKE-END BBALL TOURNAMENT

When: Friday-Sunday.

Where: Foss High School.

Skinny: The tournament will be made up of 24 adult basketball teams, which will include NBA standouts and former college stars. Each team will play a minimum of three games. Thomas, the host, will also field a team in the event.

Admission: $5 adults, $3 children.

ISAIAH THOMAS YOUTH SKILLS CAMP

When: June 17-20.

Where: Foss High School.

Skinny: The daily skills-building camps are broken up into two sessions: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for the students in grades 1-6, and 5-8 p.m. for junior high and senior high school students. Thomas will feature guest speakers from the NBA and will give out T-shirts and autographs as well.

Cost: $125 before June 10; $150 up to event. To sign up, email info@elitesyouthcamps.com.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com Todd Milles, staff writer

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