Local NBA star Isaiah Thomas is back on the basketball court this weekend.
Except only as a coach – and an injured host.
The former Curtis High School and University of Washington standout will be putting on the fourth annual Zeke-End Basketball Tournament starting Friday at a new site, Tacoma Community College.
The tournament will feature 24 teams, including some of the best professional talent - in the NBA and some local players who have gone on to play overseas.
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The headliner is the guy Thomas, 28, now a two-time All-Star with the Boston Celtics, will be coaching on his own team - Washington Wizards superstar point guard John Wall.
Other NBA players include Jaylen Brown and Demetrius Jackson, Thomas’ teammates in Boston, as well as Charlotte’s Christian Woods, and Northwest products Jamal Crawford (Los Angeles Clippers) and Aaron Brooks (Indiana).
“Every year, it gets bigger and better,” said Thomas, who suffered a torn labrum in his hip during the NBA playoffs in May. “We’ve got better players coming in.”
The past three years, the tournament has been part of Memorial Day weekend. But after the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals, losing to Cleveland, this year’s event was moved to late-June.
Because of that, Thomas had to find a different venue, which is why it is being held at Tacoma CC.
Thomas said there has been discussion about moving the championship game, which is set for around noon Sunday, to Isaiah Thomas Court at the Al Davies Boys and Girls Club in the future.
Daily play is from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for spectators ages 12 and up, and $5 for children between the ages of 6-11.
Thomas will also host a barbecue Sunday afternoon on site.