Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas‘ sister, Chyna Thomas, was killed in a one-car accident on Saturday, April 15, just one day before the Celtics open their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
ESPN reported that Chyna, 22, died at the scene of the accident on Interstate 5 in Federal Way, Washington, early Saturday morning. Washington State police told the outlet that Chyna’s car drifted onto the left shoulder of the highway and hit a large metal pole. Chyna was reportedly not wearing her seatbelt.
According to ESPN, Isaiah, 28, was practicing with his team on Saturday afternoon when he received the news. He was talking to a reporter when Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley pulled him aside. Isaiah did not return for his other scheduled media requests.
A source told ESPN that Isaiah plans to play with the Celtics on Sunday night as they face off against the Bulls in Boston. Isaiah’s father, James Thomas, told the Boston Herald that his son hadn’t decided when he would fly home to Tacoma, Washington, to join his grieving family members. “It’s a crucial time for our family right now,” James said.
The Celtics paid tribute to Chyna in a statement released on Saturday, saying, “We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Celtics organization are with Isaiah and his family.”
Speaking on Inside the NBA on Sunday, April 16, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley sent their sympathies to Isaiah, with O’Neal revealing that he’d spoken to him on Saturday night. “He’s very down,” the former NBA MVP said. “I just told him, ‘My condolences to you and your family.’ I told him my heart was heavy and I understood what he was going through and I wish him well.”
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