This season in the NBA, Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics have made a great name for themselves. The team has had a very strong presence on the floor, often leaving opposing players stunned by its impressive teamwork. Thomas, the 5’ 9” last pick of the second round in the 2011 draft, is now an All-Star and leading one of the best sports cities in the country to a second place seed in the Eastern Conference, behind Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has a fantastic story and is now a truly exciting player to watch.

Isaiah Thomas is a very talented player whose quickness, agility and ability to finish at the rim make him an elite performer. Because of his huge improvement throughout his NBA career and the underdog story he has created for himself, many fans come to Celtics games in large part to see him play.

While this is a gift for ticket sales, it can also be a curse for his reputation, as it was last week.

During the Celtics’ trip to take on the Brooklyn Nets, Isaiah Thomas decided he would stay in Boston and receive treatment for what he claimed to be a serious injury. He had not been injured until a few days before this, so fans did not know that he would be unable to play when they purchased their tickets. Furthermore, his injury was not even confirmed in any official manner, making the whole situation rather unclear.

Come game-time, Thomas did not play, nor did he even take the trip with the team up to Brooklyn. Unfortunately, as several Nets fans bought tickets in large part to see him, their night took a disappointing turn, particularly after the Nets finished with a loss. 

For example, one father who decided to take his son to this game was beyond upset when he found out that Thomas would not be attending. On Twitter, he posted a message directed toward Thomas, saying that his son ripped up the poster he had made in preparation to see him play: “My son waited all season to see his fav ‪@Isaiah_Thomas‬ take on ‪@BrooklynNets‬ - made posters. Ripped them up after hearing he’ll be a no show.”

In response, Thomas claimed that he had tried his hardest to come and that he would never miss a game unless it was absolutely necessary, but social media would not have it. The fans gave him more trouble, claiming that he was lying about being injured. One user suggested “MVPs take nights off,” suggesting that Thomas was being dishonest.

This controversy highlighted one important aspect of stars playing in the NBA. Players like James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are often the reasons fans go to see top teams play. In other words, good teams are interesting because of their stars, and that is why no one was happy when Thomas did not play in the Brooklyn game. If it was purely due to injury, then Thomas would have been forgiven, but the unclarity surrounding the situation angered impassioned fans immensely.

This might pertain to the fact that the NBA portrays the success of individual players more highly than that of its teams. However, it also suggests that because the NBA is a business and people pay money to watch these top players, it is rather disrespectful for stars to not show up to a game because of the likelihood that their team might win regardless. 

There is something to be said, though, for the rudeness of the accusations made by fans towards Isaiah Thomas because of his lack of appearance. However, this controversy nevertheless points out a very important issue in the NBA, which is the appearance of top players in less important games during the season. 

Fans want to watch their teams’ stars out on the court each and every night.  Many coaches and owners want to keep their players well-rested and healthy as their squads move closer to the playoffs, creating the current discrepancies.

Do top players owe all teams an appearance? The answer is clearly controversial, and, as of now, there is no clear solution to this problem that is plaguing the league.