Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said his primary goal for the 2015-16 season is getting his team back to the playoffs, but admitted an individual goal is utilizing that team success to help him elevate to All-Star status.
Appearing on Sirius XM's Going the Distance boxing program last week to discuss his relationship with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Thomas also talked about his desire to help Boston take a step forward after last year's first-round playoff exit.
"First off, team goals, we just want to build from what we did last year," said Thomas. "We made the playoffs, but we definitely weren’t satisfied. We think we have a better team than we had last year and we have a full season together -- it’s only going to make us better. My goal for the team is to make the playoffs and just build from there. Hopefully win some games and win a series and go from there. Just getting there and having that experience was amazing last year.
"Then, individual goals, I don’t have too many. When you achieve your team goals, then your individual success comes. But I definitely feel like I can be an All-Star. I’m not just saying that. I honestly feel that way. With hard work and dedication and just taking my craft serious. And, with the opportunity given with the Boston Celtics, I feel like I can reach that goal. That’s a goal of mine. First and foremost it comes with team goals. And just getting [to the playoffs] and being the best team we can possibly be."
The interview focused heavily on the bond between Thomas and Mayweather, including their recently spotlighted pickup games.
"[Mayweather is] pretty good, actually," said Thomas. "He can shoot the ball. And he knows how to play the game. He’s such a big fan of the game of basketball. Obviously, watching a lot, you know how to kinda do the things that you watch on TV. He’s pretty good. He’s very solid in all areas.
"I was surprised. I was very surprised."
Thomas' team edged Mayweather and Thomas joked that he wouldn't have lived it down if his team lost.
"I mean, [Mayweather is] so competitive, I think that’s just what makes him one of the best athletes ever," said Thomas. "Just because he never wants to lose, no matter what sport it is. No matter -- baseball, football, or basketball -- he feels like he should win. That’s his honest feeling. I just knew when I did play him, I had to beat him more times than he beat me or he would never stop talking. So when we did play, I took it kinda serious. I wanted to one-up him on the basketball court so he couldn’t have that over me."
What has being around Mayweather taught Thomas?
"Man, it’s done wonders for me," said Thomas. "Even the first day when I met him five or six years ago when I went to watch him train, it was just like, man, you see why he’s the best at what he does. And you see why he hasn’t taken a loss in  fights. It’s just amazing. He’s the definition of hard work and dedication, somebody, that, no matter what time of day it is, it can be 4 or 5 in the morning, he’s going to go on a six-mile run, or go to the gym and get nine rounds of sparring in with no breaks.
"I just try translate that to the basketball court. If a guy at  years old is working that hard, I gotta at least work as hard him on the basketball court -- and I’m 26 years old. He’s a guy that I definitely look up to as an athlete and a guy that really helps me out, not just in basketball, but being the best at your craft. And wanting to be the best and not just saying it."
The hosts asked Thomas if Mayweather actually bought him a Bentley. "I'm in it right now," Thomas responded with a laugh.
Asked about Mayweather's respect for Thomas, Boston's point guard noted, "He respects me a lot. A lot of people in his circle, when I’m around they are like, ‘Man, you don’t understand how much Floyd talks about you when you’re not here. He just loves you around.’ I think that’s the little-guy complex, that we gotta stick together.
"So I think we relate to each other a lot more than any other athlete that he has relationships with or friendship with. Just from that, we kinda bond and we got a close friendship. Just from us being small and doubted our whole lives."
Asked to pick players -- both past and modern -- who would have a chance to succeed in a boxing ring, Thomas selected Charles Oakley, Matt Barnes, and Zach Randolph.