After a 38-point performance in January, Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas handed his jersey to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was sitting courtside. He even high-fived Mayweather after drilling a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. But the two have a friendship that goes back much further than that, as Thomas explained on The Bill Simmons Podcast.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Bill Simmons: Explain the Floyd Mayweather thing to me, because he’s now, like, the no. 1 Celtics fan.
Isaiah Thomas: He is. He’s got Celtics gear too.
That’s my guy. Close friend of mine. I met him, I think it was a year before I went out for the draft. I went to go watch him work out in Las Vegas at his boxing gym. He was a fan of basketball, so he knew who I was. We met through mutual people, and it was all she wrote after that. We support each other, he’s a good friend of mine, a mentor that gives me advice on how to be great. So, like, even meeting like Tom Brady and sitting down with Kobe Bryant, those [are the] type of guys I want to be around, because I want to be great and learn from those guys.
Simmons: How many games does he come to?
Thomas: He comes to a couple a year.
Simmons: It seems like it’s more than that.
Thomas: He comes to a couple in Boston, he’ll be in Miami because he lives in Miami too, he comes to those too. He’ll be at the L.A. games. Or if we’re playing in New York, he always stops [by].
Simmons: I like when he comes with his … I guess they’re bodyguards?
Thomas: Oh, yeah. The big guys.
Simmons: And they stand behind his seats at the Clippers games. I don’t know if you’ve been to a Clipper game, but Floyd is not in danger at a Clipper game, I don’t think. It’s the most mellow crowd on the planet.
Thomas: Definitely not.
Simmons: It’s a scene when he comes. I don’t know how he gets the courtside [seats]!
Thomas: It’s a scene everywhere he goes. He’s only sitting courtside. He even came when I played in Phoenix, when I played in Sacramento, he was at the games!
Simmons: It’s probably easier to get the courtsides in Sacramento.
Thomas: Definitely, definitely in Sacramento.
Simmons: Is he on the bandwagon?
Thomas: Yeah, he’s a fan!
Simmons: Alright. Does he break down [the game] afterward?
Thomas: He tries to break some stuff down, but I’m like, "OK, champ. I got it."