Isaiah Thomas Opens Gym at His Hometown Boys & Girls Club in Tacoma
NBA Star Isaiah Thomas Unveils New Gym at Boys & Girls Clubs Branch in Tacoma Isaiah Thomas Court provides more space for teen programs.
Teens’ cheers and smiles erupted when the purple doors opened to the new Boys & Girls Clubs gym—and NBA star Isaiah Thomas was there to greet them.
Thomas, a Tacoma native and alumni of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, was the headliner for the gym’s ribbon-cutting today at the Club’s Al Davies Branch in Tacoma.
The new facility is named Isaiah Thomas Court, honoring the former Al Davies Branch Club member who played for the University of Washington before turning pro. Isaiah, the 60th and final pick in the 2011 NBA draft, is now a point guard for the Boston Celtics and is a two-time NBA All-Star.
“Thank you to everyone who helped me. Without Tacoma I wouldn’t be where I am today. I represent it proudly everywhere I go,” Thomas said during the ceremony. “I always dreamed of having a gym, and now I’ve got one. So you better use it."
The new 5,700-square foot gym will allow the Al Davies Branch to serve about 80 teens a day, double the number they could before the new space.
Funding and development support for the $150,000 gym were provided by the Lowe’s Renovation Across the Nation grant, the National Basketball Players Association Foundation and Thomas himself.
Lowe’s awarded a $50,000 Renovation Across the Nation grant to one Boys & Girls Club in every state. Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Lowe’s selected the Al Davies gym project as the grant recipient for our state. The grant was unsolicited and was awarded specifically to upgrade teen spaces as part of a national focus on teen retention.
Thomas contributed $80,000 to the project to help pay for the renovations, flooring and banners around the gym. The National Basketball Players Association Foundation donated $20,000.
The new gym floor is decorated with a custom illustration of the Tacoma Dome, Mount Rainier and city skyline. Gifford Industries of Edmonds, Wash. led the construction work for the project.
A unique feature of the gym is a purple line painted at Thomas’ height, 5’ 9” above the floor. The line is meant to be an inspiring reminder to youth: Don’t let your height—or any other obstacle—hold you back from your dreams.
“I was picked last in the draft, but I embraced it. All I ever wanted to do was play in the NBA,” Thomas said. “Take the opportunities you get and just keep going. Don’t give up. Believe in yourself.”
Thomas also recently supported BGCSPS when he received the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for December. The award includes a $10,000 charitable donation from Kaiser Permanente and the NBA, and Thomas chose BGCSPS as the recipient.