Isaiah Thomas made his long-awaited return to TD Garden on Monday night as the Nuggets took on the Celtics, marking the first time that the point guard has suited up as a visitor in Boston since leaving the Celtics.
Of course, it was no surprise that Thomas received a video tribute from the Celtics and a very warm (and loud) reception from the home crowd in his return. Though he only played two full seasons for the Celtics, Thomas became one of the city's most beloved athletes during that time thanks to his tenacity and heart.
And while the tributes, ovations and fond memories were anticipated on Monday, Thomas also brought some unexpected tidbits in his return as well.
One of those surprises came on Thomas' feet, as he broke out green and gold sneakers for the game. It feels safe to assume this wasn't a late St. Patrick's Day gesture, but rather as a nod to his tenure in Boston.
Thomas joined the Celtics following a 2015 trade that sent him from Phoenix to Boston and he became a prominent leader in the Celtics' recent rebuilding period. After becoming a star in Boston, he was eventually dealt to Cleveland in the trade that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston.
Though the divorce was a bit messy, dramatic and personal, Thomas says he has no harbors no hard feelings over the deal. He also said he's open to the possibility of an eventual return to the Celtics at some point down the road.
"These were the most fun times in my career," said Thomas prior to Monday's game. "I turned into a superstar here. The world knew my name when I played for the Boston Celtics. Not saying they don't now, but playing for Celtics changed my whole career on and off the floor. This city and this organization treated my family with 100 percent respect. Decisions happen, I never hold any grudges against anybody, even if I'm not for that decision.
"You never know what can happen. My options are always open no matter what it is. If I end up back here at some point, that would make the story that much better."
Following the first break in the action, the Celtics showed their appreciation for everything Thomas provided the city and the franchise by sharing a tribute video to the former All-Star on the jumbotron at TD Garden which ultimately led to a raucous standing ovation and Thomas tearing up a bit.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Thomas rejoins the Celtics this summer as a free agent, something he said he would be open to doing prior to Monday night's matchup, there is no doubt that he has built a legacy for himself in the city of Boston that only so many other athletes can say they own.