The University of Washington will retire the No. 2 jersey of basketball standout Isaiah Thomas during the Feb. 15 game against Utah, athletics director Jen Cohen said Thursday. Thomas is the third UW player to have his number retired, following Bob Houbregs (1951-53) and Brandon Roy (2003-06).
“Words can’t describe how grateful I am to receive this honor,” Thomas said in a UW release. “The University of Washington provided me the opportunity and support to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball, but it has also shaped who I am as a person. I always dreamed of becoming a Husky, playing in Hec Ed and earning my degree from Washington, and to know that my name will live there forever means the world to me.”
A Tacoma native who attended Curtis High School, Thomas led the Huskies from 2009-11. The 5-foot-9 guard is eighth all-time in scoring with 1,721 points, with a career average of 16.4. He has three of the top 25 single-season scoring seasons in program history.
“Isaiah’s heart, competitiveness, grit, determination and perseverance through challenges define what it means to be a Husky,” Cohen said. “He has faced obstacles at every stage of his journey. It is my hope that his jersey in the rafters will serve as an inspiration to many more young men and women throughout the state, to know that anything is possible.”
Following his UW career, Thomas was the final (60th) pick of the NBA draft in 2011, and went on to become a two-time NBA All-Star and a 2017 All-NBA second-team selection. After being drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Thomas was traded to the Phoenix Suns before being dealt to the Boston Celtics, and the past summer to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Thomas has yet to play for the Cavs after tearing the labrum in his right hip last season. The injury caused him to sit out the last three games of the Celtics’ loss to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals. He is expected to return to play in January.
In 2016-17, Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds for the Celtics. He set a team record with 245 3-pointers and scored at least 20 or more points on 71 occasions, including 43 in a row, the longest streak in Celtics history. He was the third-leading scorer in the NBA during the 2016-17 season and his average was second-highest in Celtics history, trailing Larry Bird’s 1987-88 mark of 29.9.
Thomas has built a reputation as one of the NBA’s most valuable players both on and off the court, spearheading multiple community service initiatives in his hometown of Tacoma and Boston.
The NBA recognized his efforts with the 2017 NBA Cares Community Assist Award, awarded to one player each year in recognition of their outstanding commitment and dedication to making a difference in his community.