Don"t let Thomas" height fool you (2:38)Isaiah Thomas will certainly not let his 5-foot-9 framework sheight him from achieving greatness in the NBA and also will proceed to prove his doubters wrong. (2:38)


This is an digital exclusive story from The Magazine"s Body Issue 2017, on newsstands on July 7. Subscribe today!

You might have actually heard that Isaiah Thomas is only 5-9. It"s type of his point -- the same that means putting up jaw-dropping numbers is his thing. This past season the formerly overlooked Boston point guard, 28, saw the highest possible of highs -- an MVP-worthy seaboy and Eastern Conference finals run -- and lowest of lows, many notably the tragic death of his sister in a vehicle accident during the playoffs. Though a hip injury finished Thomas" seaboy early on, he uncovered one last method to make a splash: through a photo shoot for"s ninth edition of the Body Issue, where he talked to us around his Mighty Mousage tatas well, researching Bruce Lee"s moves and also how he climbed above the doubters. Here"s Thomas" story in his very own words:

Nobody"s tall in my family. My father is 5-7, so I knew at a young age I wouldn"t be that tall. But as soon as I was younger, I always wanted to be taller. Tright here was a pullup bar in my mom"s basement, and also I would certainly carry out many pullups down tbelow. My mommy will certainly tell you that I"d be on tright here all the time trying to stretch myself out.

You are watching: Isaiah thomas body issue

More from BODY

Your exclusive look at the distinctive stories of 23 athletes.See the photos »Watch the videos »Visit the archive »

I constantly remained in the weight room. My dad was a huge bodybuilder and somebody who always was lifting weights and also working out. He constantly told me, "Don"t ago dvery own from anybody." I"ve always played with my heart, and I"ve constantly felt favor I was much better than the following guy.

When I was young -- 10, 11, 12 years old -- my dad would certainly take me to the gym, and I had the ability to play open up gym basketball via grvery own males. A few of them would want to fight me afterward bereason I talk mess -- and I earlier it up. First off, you don"t desire to be proved up by someone smaller sized than you, and also then on height of that someone younger than you. I grew up in the Gary Payton era. He was arguably the best trash-talker there was. And I watched all his games and also I read all the stories around him talking trash, so I kind of wanted to be like him once I was younger. To this day, I prefer to talk trash, however I"m not just talking out there; I"m backing it up.

And I"m not as small as you may think -- I"m stronger than the majority of guys. I think by being solid and also being as compact as I am, it"s assisted me take my game to an additional level.

I suppose, the things that I"m doing -- if I were 6-5 or 6-6, it would certainly be magnified even even more, talked around even even more. And that"s just how it"s been my entirety career -- my totality life. I"ve never been provided a fair shake, also to now. I always say nothing"s been given to me; I constantly took what I think is mine, and I constantly took benefit of the chance that I"ve got. And not to put anypoint versus the bigger men, however for the most part, they"re handed a lot. Us little bit men in the gutter, we"re not handed anypoint. We"re not provided the benefit of the doubt. They always overlook us.

If I were taller, the seakid I had actually would certainly be getting even even more attention. For certain. There"s no doubt around that. People constantly try to uncover somepoint that I don"t do well, or that the small male doesn"t do well, and put it against him. For circumstances, when you"re smaller they always say you"re a protective liability. If somebody scores on a 6-5 male, it"s like, "Oh, that"s good offense." If somebody scores on a 5-9 guy, it"s favor, "Oh, he"s a liability; he"s too small." It"s always somepoint.

If I were 6-3 or 6-5, I"d be the finest player in the people. No doubt about it. And that"s not simply me reasoning that; I suppose, the human being would think that.

People constantly wanted me to be somebody I wasn"t, whether it be a pass-first suggest guard or a typical suggest guard, and I"m not that. I think world are simply starting to accept who I am. And that"s a great thing. Damon Stoudamire was among my favorite players growing up; he was 5-10 and a left-handed guy like me, and also I absolutely tried to pattern my game after him. He"s someone I certainly looked up to. When I was younger, my teammates and my coach referred to as me Mighty Mousage after him. I acquired a Mighty Mouse tatalso bereason of him.

Walter Iooss for couchsurfingcook.comTHE BRUCE LEE EFFECTMy psychological edge is being counted out, being questioned. If you"ve ever been questioned in your life, you desire to prove human being wrong. So that"s what I always wanted to carry out. I"ve been doubted eincredibly action of the way. I usage eexceptionally little bit little of negativity as incentive to store acquiring better and also to display world what I"m qualified of doing.

Being the last pick of the draft doesn"t cross my mind anymore. But in the time of my first few years, I was choose, "Man, I"m around to kill this team" because I was holding it against them. Now I find other points that motivate me. That taken place 6 years back, but it certainly provides the story that much better in the finish and something that I had to conquer. And that"s just the meaning of my story; the meaning of my life. Being counted out, being picked last and overcoming those obstacles.

A few summers earlier, I stupassed away Bruce Lee -- check out all his quotes, review his books and also simply tried to figure out exactly how he gained so sharp mentally. He was the ideal at what he did. Mentally, he saw a level that nobody have the right to reach, and he"s someone who didn"t really make as well many kind of mistakes at what he was doing. His quote "Be shapeless. Be formless. Be choose water," that was among the quotes that stuck to me. Be able to adapt to anything that comes your way -- whether it be in life, in basketround. You"ve obtained to adapt to everything on the fly, and do not be simply put in a box. I don"t favor when people just try to put you in a details box. "Is he a suggest guard? Is he a shooting guard?" No, I"m a guard that provides plays and is effective on the court. Don"t try to put me in no certain box, because I"m not that.

"WHEN YOU"RE SMALL, YOU"VE GOT TO BE SPECIAL."Obviously, once you"re smaller sized, you"ve got to figure out various methods to maneuver about the substantial men, different ways to score the basketball roughly the hoop. It"s a difficulty I"ve always had actually to get rid of. So it"s nopoint new for me. I always say is not a surpclimb to me; it"s a surprise to everybody else.

See more: In A Transverse Wave The Medium Vibrates, A) At Right Angles To The Wave Direction B) In

Being the smallest guy on the court has actually actually been to my benefit. When I tell human being that, they constantly look at me prefer I"m crazy. But Gary Payton, years ago, told me that "the male that"s lowest to the ground typically always wins." I"ve talked to the males like Muggsy Bogues and also Nate Robinboy and also Damon Stoudamire. I"ve built relationships through those men. And the major thing they tell me is, "Just be yourself. Whatever before you carry to the table, execute it at a high level." All of the small men that played prior to me and who"ve played throughout my time, they"ve been unique in their very own means. I think that"s the difference in between the little men and also the giants out there: When you"re little, you"ve acquired to be unique in some means, somehow.