SS: Best Moment of NBA Playoffs: LeBron Hugging Isaiah Thomas

Best Moment of NBA Playoffs: LeBron Hugging Isaiah Thomas

There he was, the best being his best, sharing a moving moment, the most important of the NBA playoffs so far.

And it wasn’t during a basketball game.

On the court, after the Cavaliers eliminated the Celtics a few days ago, LeBron James hugged Isaiah Thomas. It was a long hug, a real man-to-man, sincere, caring, loving hug.

This wasn’t a hug about basketball, or an NBA playoff win, or consolation for the loss of a game.  It was a hug about something far different and more important. It was about the death of Isaiah’s sister. In April she died in a car accident. A sibling was gone, just like that. No loss of any basketball game can ever come close to the loss of a brother feels when his sister dies.

LeBron was letting Isaiah know that he cared about the pain the Boston Celtics player had been going through since the tragedy. He was showing him that he loved him, that he, LeBron James, knows that some things are more important than NBA championships. And one of those things is the death of another person’s family member.

LeBron felt bad for another person who had been suffering through the tumult and freakishness of the death of his sister.  He knew his fellow NBA player could use a good hug, to let him know that LeBron cared about his loss, that LeBron was not all about himself and basketball and winning championships.

This hug was genuine, long, and real.

Imagine being Thomas. You’re cruising along through an NBA season playing well and one of the team’s stars. Then suddenly you are shocked to find out your sister has died in a car accident.


It was all going so well. Life was rolling along. Then boom, crack, crush, death.

Death hits us hard, especially when it’s unexpected and the person who dies is relatively young. My high school teammate in baseball and basketball died in a car accident the summer after his sophomore year.

Gone. Dead. Just like that.

Funeral, tears, frustration, fear – all of it.

That death still haunts me especially when I think of what he was thinking as he sat in the front passenger seat when, while moving at over 60 miles per hour, he realized the car was quickly going to smash into a tree trunk. Hopefully, he wasn’t too aware of what was about to happen.

LeBron James is an inspiring guy. While dazzling with his amazing basketball talent, I am often as impressed with his ability to say the right things and be classy and cool. He has a heart, cares about others, and is often insightful and just another human being trying his best to do the right thing.

For hugging Thomas the way he did and for as long as he did, I admire him even more. He took the time to embrace a player on the opposing team not because the cameras were on him and he thought it would enhance his image to show. Rather, he obviously cared about another player’s grief. This was a real hug, a loving hug, an “I care about you and I’m very sorry for the pain you are going through” hug.

Of all the cool things LeBron has done, I have never seen him be cooler than when he hugged Thomas the way he did, for as long as he did, with as much authenticity.

My sense is that Thomas feels a bit more comfortable knowing that he was embraced and cared for by LeBron. He knows people care about him and his loss. He knows he can reach out to LeBron if he feels sad and depressed.

LeBron let him know that. For doing so, LeBron deserves a big, long hug himself.


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Sammy Sportface
Sammy Sportface
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