Dear Isaiah Thomas,
So it's unlikely that you'll read this, as you're a successful basketball player busy with your departure to the Phoenix Suns. However, considering your previous positive and interactive connection with the Sacramento fanbase, perhaps unparalleled amongst the Kings roster and front office, I believe there's a tiny chance you might. If so- HI! I would say reading this makes you even more awesome than I thought you before, but you've already reached near peak awesome with me. Really, the only higher echelon of awesome available is reserved for say...whoever cures cancer (my apologies if you are secretly trying to cure cancer. I believe there is a chance this is also possible.)
So first off, I'd like to blame you for something you are not really responsible for. I am sure you may be used to this, considering your previous dealings with the Sacramento front office and the ongoing questions about your height. Bear with me though; I hope this is far more agreeable than either of those experiences.
Due to my ongoing lack of foresight, I own a Chuck Hayes Sacramento Kings jersey. I don't regret this decision; I wanted to celebrate someone with a connection to the Sacramento area, a commitment to hard work and a habit of outplaying expectations. I just feel sheepish when I wear the jersey to a game and I'm met with facial expressions ranging from "who?" to "him?"
It is to my eternal regret that I never bought a jersey of yours. I plan to immediately rectify that situation, and am currently hunting for an Isaiah Thomas Kings jersey. So, because of you, I will have my second Sacramento Kings jersey with the name of a former King. This jersey I plan to wear proudly whenever possible and I suspect others will recognize the name soon if they don't already.
It hurts that the team on that jersey is not the team you currently play for. I suspect it will continue to hurt for quite awhile. That pain is not your fault, except in the sense that you earned my high esteem and affection. You also did everything possible to earn your continued employment with the Kings and your continuing adoration by Sacramento Kings fans.
I will always admire your fighting spirit and style. In a sport of giants, you continued to attack the post where the tallest and strongest athletes are found and scored 68.5% of the time there last year- a rate more expected of men a foot taller. You saw the flow of the game better than most gave you credit for- anyone who tells you a guard with a 32% assist rate isn't a "true point guard" isn't paying attention. Really, you were the kind of point guard who could help any team- a fearless do-it-all offensive weapon and a defensive plus because of your tenacity and strength. I am sure you will help the Suns.
I will never understand why some think a few more inches of height could equal or exceed everything you brought to the Kings. While I wish you could have done even more while you were here, I wish more that you played on a better-built Kings team; one without the constant turmoil and roster turnover, one with better shooting everywhere and better defense at the wing and big man positions. I will continue to believe that, no matter the cost, you would have been an ongoing positive contributor to the Kings as they continue to improve.
It is the loss to Sacramento itself that will hurt even more. I will always remember you speaking for us at city council, a move no doubt frowned upon by your place of employment and perhaps even by your agent. How hard it must have been for you to continue to support the city of Sacramento when a Kings relocation meant your hometown would have gotten their team back. No one expected you to support us, or to continue supporting us. That you did, that you then continued to show respect and love to Sacramento fans, that your last acts as a King were tweets of appreciation to us, shows what a gentleman you are and how lucky we were to have you. You will be missed.
When you come to my current locale of Brooklyn, it will be an easy choice to buy a ticket to see you- first time I'll have bought a ticket to see a player and not a team. When you play my Kings, I hope you understand that I must root against the Suns, NOT against you. As someone who tapped so deeply into the fierce Sacramento zeitgeist, I expect you will understand that decision. However, I cannot yet accurately describe my emotional state as I cheer the Kings to win while I hope you drop 30 against them.
You have always been easy to root for. From the first time you played for us, when I was pleasantly surprised that our 60th pick scored five, to the last time you did- when you scored 30 in a winning effort against Milwaukee and I thought "of course." In my travels, I've managed to run into a few Kings fans around the world, picked up from Sacramento's golden era in the early 2000s, and I've always told them to watch out for Cousins and you- that you guys are going places. How I wish that place wasn't Phoenix in your case, but I hope I've lead a few IT fans your way as you move on.
And who knows? If Lebron and Cleveland can reunite four years later, maybe Sacramento and you can do the same. Yes, I know that a letter of appreciation should be coming from the front office (hopefully it has or will) but I would like to point out that this one has a heartfelt perspective shared by a lot of fans, and that it isn't in Comic Sans.
Really, what I meant to say in these thousand words is thank you. Thank you for everything you did while you were a King. Know that you've got my support and the support of many Kings fans no matter what jersey you wear. I hope my Kings do well next year. I know you will.
A Kings fan and an Isaiah Thomas fan
P.S- And keep earning that lead guard spot :)