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February 18, 2017

Isaiah Thomas

New Orleans, Louisiana

ISAIAH THOMAS: I've been in twice already. So I feel like I know what to expect. Hopefully, I can get it done the third time.

Q. Give me just a few words, please, about the Latin guys, especially Al Horford, who is on your team. But you know [Manu] Ginobili and all those guys, just an opinion about the Latin players.
ISAIAH THOMAS: They changed the game. They're unbelievable players. J.J. Barea is somebody I looked up to before I got into the NBA. Al Horford is a teammate of mine that's been very special. Ginobili is one of the best players to ever play the game. He'll probably be a Hall of Famer. Those are really great players. They've done a lot for this league.

Q. And Ginobili is lefty?
ISAIAH THOMAS: Yeah, yeah.

Q. After all the hoopla and everything leading up to the game, how ready are you all to actually play tomorrow?
ISAIAH THOMAS: We're ready. There's a lot going on. You kind of forget about the game until it happens. Excited. Excited. Hopefully, it can get a little bit competitive toward the end, and we can sneak one out of there.

Q. Is tonight the most fun part with the slam dunk contest?
ISAIAH THOMAS: Probably. It's the most exciting. You've got the best three-point shooters in the world and then you've got the dunk contest. So looking forward to that.

Q. You're known as Mr. Fourth Quarter. In what way does that nickname represent your game?
ISAIAH THOMAS: I guess I'm pretty good in the fourth quarter, so that's why they gave me that nickname.

Q. Do you think you're going to be Mr. Fourth Quarter in the All-Star game?
ISAIAH THOMAS: If my coach puts me in the game, I will be. He better put me in the game.

Q. Have you ever had that conversation yet about how your minutes are going to work out?
ISAIAH THOMAS: No, we haven't.

Q. I know you have a tendency to lobby from time to time.
ISAIAH THOMAS: When it gets time, I'm going to give him that look I try to give him when we're on the bench in the Garden. Hopefully, he gives me a few minutes to put on a show for the fans.

Q. How special is it to have your coach coaching the All-Star game?
ISAIAH THOMAS: It's very special. It says a lot about the direction our organization is going in. I'm just happy for that coaching staff because they deserve it and they work hard.

Q. Are you going to try for the MVP tomorrow?
ISAIAH THOMAS: We'll see. I mean, if I get the minutes, I might as well.

Q. This weekend you're doing a lot of events, the media thing, busy weekend. You played a lot of minutes this year. Will you get some rest down the stretch to get ready for the playoffs?
ISAIAH THOMAS: This weekend, everybody that's been here knows what to expect for this weekend. You're not really going to get the rest, but you've just got to enjoy the moment. Luckily, the All-Star weekend and the time off is extended. We have a few days off before we get back going next week.

Q. You know Chris Paul pretty well. He's obviously been out with injury for a little bit. What kind of difference maker is he, and what's made him so great over the years?
ISAIAH THOMAS: Probably the best leader in the game that we have. He's a guy that you hate playing against, but probably the first guy you'll pick to be a part of your team. He's a guy that I've looked up to even before I was in the NBA and one of my good friends. He's one of the best guards in the world. He's going to go down as one of the best to ever play.

Q. And Paul Pierce's final season, what is his legacy in this league as obviously a Celtic?
ISAIAH THOMAS: A couple of weeks ago, we got to experience his last game [in Boston] and how special he really was. He's a legend, not just a Celtics legend. He's going to be a Hall of Famer when he's done.

Q. What's the best thing about haters?
ISAIAH THOMAS: Haters? They never go away. They always going to be there no matter what.

Q. I got to ask you a serious question. Is the earth round or flat?
ISAIAH THOMAS: Didn't Kyrie [Irving] say it was flat? It looks round.

Q. What's the best part about being here the second time around for you?
ISAIAH THOMAS: First off, interacting with the fans and being a part of that. And then just being around such great players. I mean, it's a fun weekend, and as a player growing up, I bet everybody dreamed of being an All-Star. I just try to stay in the moment and enjoy everything that comes with it.

Q. I know you talked about using this as a platform to let other players here know about the Celtics and everything that's going on. Have you found other players doing that with you? Because they know you're going to be a free agent sometime in the near future as well. Have they tried to recruit you maybe a little bit?
ISAIAH THOMAS: Not yet. Maybe someday, but not yet. Nobody's came up to me yet.

Q. Are you surprised, or is this par for the course for you?
ISAIAH THOMAS: No, I never even thought about it. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn't.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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