Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas was fined $20,000 on top of his ejection after he stopped an Andrew Wiggins drive to the basket by leveling Wiggins with a forearm to the head. Thomas, just back from injury, is known as one of the toughest guys in any sport. But the blatant violence of the Wiggins hit was shocking, and Thomas’s immediate reaching down to lend a hand to his victim did nothing to mitigate the severity of the flagrant forearm to Wiggins’s head. The hit was so nasty it seemed like there had to be something personal between Thomas and Wiggins, outside and above the game situation. But then Thomas has always made it personal — that’s what he thrives on, overcoming odds and showing the world he’s big enough to be a star.
Thomas borrowed that attitude from his athletic hero, boxer Floyd Mayweather. The two men have a mutual admiration society going: Thomas keys off Mayweather’s confidence and you-can’t-beat-me attitude, while Mayweather has been known to make good money betting on Thomas’s games. (There’s added pressure/incentive when you know Mayweather has a big bet on you.) The men are approximately the same size too — undersized, that is, with oversize achievements in their sports. There is a big difference though, between the two pugilistic men. When Mayweather knocks somebody out, he gets paid. When Thomas does it, he pays the fine.
Mayweather and Thomas high five:
— Jack Bardsley (@BostonsBigFour) January 12, 2017