Before his first appearance at Staples Center, UW freshman Isaiah Thomas said he wanted to “get his Kobe on” — that is, play like Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Instead, he played like former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal.
For the first time, the 5-foot-8 Thomas led UW in rebounding: a career-high nine.
“They came up long, so I was out there and they popped to me,” he said. “It’s not like I was Jon (Brockman) just running after them. They came to me, so I just took it.”
Clearly, playing at Staples meant something to Thomas, who admits that the games he played at Madison Square Garden hadn’t meant as much to him.
“It was weird,” he said. “Just thinking Kobe plays here, Shaq played here, and I was looking up before the game all the championship (banners). It was weird playing in a place like this.”
He’ll be back tomorrow. And there’s every chance that he’ll be back at another NBA arena a week from today, perhaps getting his B-Roy on at the Rose Garden in Portland.