Before the Boston Celtics opened their postseason matchup with the Chicago Bulls, the team held a moment of silence for Chyna Thomas—the sister of All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas—who passed away in a car crash the day before.
Hours before that moment of silence, Thomas was seen overcome with emotion and being comforted by teammate Avery Bradley on the sidelines during shootaround.
— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) April 16, 2017
Despite his heartbroken state, Thomas elected to play—much to the dismay of TNT analyst Charles Barkley. The hot-take artist, who during his playing days was often too busy eating McDonald's to practice, took his affinity for what he believes to be "toughness" too far ahead of Celtics–Bulls, criticizing Thomas by saying crying on the sideliness is "not a good look."
“I’m not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline crying like that," Barkley said on Inside the NBA ahead of the game. "That makes me uncomfortable because that tells me he’s not in shape to play. I don’t know how this night is going to turn out. But to be sitting on the sideline a few minutes before the game, crying, that makes me uncomfortable for him. That’s just not a good look, in my personal opinion.”
Thomas responded by dropping a game-high 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting, though the Celtics lost 106-102.
Though he likely wasn't responding directly to Barkley's comments, Boston coach Brad Stevens offered the perfect counter-argument to the analyst's take after the defeat.
"Part of being supportive for him is putting our best foot forward," Stevens said. "And letting him know it's OK, whatever his emotions are at that time, it's OK to let them out. Again, and you all know this from having really tough stuff happen: I don't know that there's a script for this. I don't know that there is a script for the emotions that somebody is supposed to show. I think that, ultimately, however you feel, that's the way you feel. And I think that we're here, again, as a support. And part of our support is to be great teammates, and great teammates are ready to compete together and compete for each other."