Isaiah Thomas openly wept as he faced the Chicago Bulls for the start of the 2017 NBA playoffs. Just the day before he lost his sister. Time will tell how the playoffs will end for the Celtics, but Thomas has done much more showing the emotional maturity of black men during his grief.
Black men have generationally been chastised for openly showing hurt. Signs of vulnerability have been unfairly manipulated to show weakness and instability. This line of thinking often misguides black men into grieving in detrimental ways. We need to be thankful that Thomas spared his pride and let us see him hurt while he worked. He has channeled his pain in a productive way, showing that we can build even as we try to emotionally rebuild.
Even beyond that, Thomas’ openness with his grief has allowed us to see how beautiful it is to see men, particularly black men, emotionally support each other. He was quoted as saying, “Mentally and emotionally I’m not here. I just feed off what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence, so I can’t do without those guys. They believe in me, and being here is what makes me, I guess, sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through this tough time.”
The journey to healing is far from over for Thomas, but he is blessed to have an outlet and we are blessed to see him healthily take the journey.