Isaiah Thomas #22 of the Sacramento Kings and Team Chuck goes up for a shot against Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriots and Team Shaq in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge 2013 part of the 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Toyota Center on February 15, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)
SACRAMENTO, CA - While Isaiah Thomas returned from a successful All-Star weekend in Houston, his Sacramento Kings teammates got completely away from basketball during their four-day break.
"Absolutely, when I got away, I didn't think about basketball," said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins following Monday's evening practice. "I enjoyed my family, enjoyed my babies - that's it."
Meanwhile, Thomas was able to do a little of both.
The second-year Kings point guard was selected to participate in last Friday's "Rising Stars Challenge" as a member of Charles Barkley's team. "Team Chuck" defeated Shaquille O'Neal's "Team Shaq" 163-135, where Thomas scored 18 and dished 10 assists.
When Thomas returned to the team's practice facility on Monday, his teammates coined him with a new nickname - "All-Star."
"I like the big stage and the bright lights," Thomas said. "Just being around greatness, being around the real All-Stars and just seeing how they carried themselves - and just trying to learn from them."
At just 19-35 and so much uncertainty about the team's future in Sacramento, the goal among the team is to finish the season out strong.
"There's just so much going on around this team, just to finish strong - we can at least do that," Cousins said.
While the team's owners, the Maloof family has agreed to sell the franchise to a Seattle based ownership group, former NBA player and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is preparing to make a counter offer to put before the NBA on March 1.
The NBA's Board of Governors would then vote on April 18 in New York City to determine if the Kings will remain in Sacramento, or approve the deal to send them to Seattle.
The Kings will host the San Antonio Spurs (42-12) at Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday before they embark on a five-game road trip, returning to Sacramento on March 3.
By Sean Cunningham - SCunningham@News10.net