Despite his size, Thomas had always had the uncanny ability to score. His path to NBA stardom began Jan. 4, 2011 when UW’s Abdul Gaddy suffered a season-ending knee injury that moved Thomas from shooting guard to point guard.

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Raphael Chillious is talking for nearly 30 minutes when he stops and says: “There’s one story that really says it all about Isaiah Thomas.”

The curiosity is piqued, but you’re thinking you’ve heard all of the heart-over-height tales about the little kid from Tacoma with the big smile who defied the odds, became a basketball star at the University of Washington and at 5-foot-9 is one of the unlikeliest – if not shortest — NBA All-Stars in the history of the game.

We’ve covered the moments when Chillious, a Husky assistant who coached Thomas one year at UW and for two years at Connecticut’s South Kent prep school, first realized the pint-sized point guard was special.

Thomas built a reputation for being tough and gritty. UW fans might recall the time he hustled out of bounds and dived into the tunnel to save a loose ball that proved to be the turning point for a 85-68 win over Arizona on Jan. 20, 2011.

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And the college basketball world will never forget when Thomas’ “coldblooded” shot in the final seconds beat the Wildcats in overtime in the 2011 Pac-10 tournament title game.

“That last possession Isaiah gets the ball and I’m looking at his face and he had known me so well he knew what I was thinking, that Coach probably wants to call time out,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “And he looks at me and that’s when he says I’m good. We’re good. And that was the wave as if he’s saying we got this.

“And he went and made the basket. … I would have to say Isaiah’s shot is it for me. It’s probably No. 1 on the list.”

But Chillious has a story that tops them all and maybe says more about Thomas’ win-at-all-costs mentality than anything you’ve ever heard.

“We’re playing at (Washington State) and it’s a close game — it was either his sophomore or junior year and Isaiah has to go pee,” Chillious said. “But he didn’t want to come out of the game. We call time out and tell him to go pee. He says, ‘No, I’m not going,’ and says ‘give me a towel.’

“Everyone stood around him while he peed in a towel sitting on the bench so he would not miss one second in the game. That’s him in a nutshell.”

Despite his size, Thomas had always had the uncanny ability to score. His path to NBA stardom began Jan. 4, 2011 when UW’s Abdul Gaddy suffered a season-ending knee injury that moved Thomas from shooting guard to point guard.

“Once he got the ball he became a maestro,” Chillious said. “When he played off the ball, he was thinking I need to score. Once he got that ball and got so good in the pick n’ roll, that was a big moment for him.”

The 2010-11 season was a magical time on Montlake.

Buoyed by a 21-point, 11-assist performance from Thomas, Washington overcame a 43-point outing from Klay Thompson and beat cross-state rival Washington State 89-82 in the conference tournament opener. Thomas had 10 points and 12 assists the next night as UW knocked off Oregon 69-51.

Then he had 28 points and seven assists in 45 minutes of a 77-75 overtime win against Arizona to capture the tournament title and the Most Outstanding Player award.

The Huskies went on to beat Georgia in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing 86-83 to North Carolina in the final seconds and finishing 24-11.

It was Washington’s last appearance in the Big Dance.

A few months later, Thomas left school with a year remaining and passed on a chance to become UW’s all-time scoring leader. He ranks seventh on the list with 1,721 points.

Thomas, the 60th and final selection in the 2011 draft, is, according to ESPN, the lowest-picked player to make an All-Star team since 1989, when the draft contracted to two rounds.

He played his first three seasons in Sacramento and despite averaging 20.3 points in 2013-14, the Kings shipped him to Phoenix in the offseason for a trade exception.

The Suns never fully committed to Thomas and used him off the bench. He averaged 15.2 points and after three months, Phoenix traded him to Boston.

Celtics president Danny Ainge was a big supporter of Thomas, but it took then first-year coach Brad Stevens a little while to really believe in Thomas. He finished the 2014-15 season as a reserve and began this season as a backup.

On Nov. 4, Thomas received his first start for the Celtics and he has taken off. He averages 21.5 points, 6.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds for Boston, which is third in the Eastern Conference at 32-23.

Along with Calvin Murphy, a 5-9 guard who played in the NBA from 1970 to 1983, Thomas is the shortest player to be picked for an All-Star team.

The three-day festivities conclude at 5:30 p.m. (PT) Sunday with the game at Air Canada Centre.

Thomas, 27, spent most of his life fighting for acceptance and now he’s being recognized as one of the best in the sport.

“Just being in the Eastern Conference meeting with guys like LeBron (James) and Carmelo (Anthony) and all of those types of guys and for them to come up to me and say you deserve to be here means a lot,” he told reporters in Toronto. “I’ve never had that feeling, so it’s different for me. It shows that my peers respect what I do. It says a lot. I’m just excited to be here. I’m thankful and I’m appreciative.”

Thomas’ pinch-me-moment came Thursday when he met childhood idol Allen Iverson at an All-Star-related event in Toronto.

“We talked about 10 to15 minutes and he just said how much he loves my games and watches almost all of my games,” Thomas said. “For somebody to say that – like him, pound-for-pound the best player ever – that was unbelievable.

“He wasn’t just saying it. He was saying the moves I was doing and me being left-handed and things like that. So I knew it was really genuine.”

Thomas has a fascination with Iverson.

Boston’s equipment manager, John Connor, calls him “Allen Iverson II.”

It’s a term of endearment and a constant reminder to push boundaries, much like the former Philadelphia 76ers star.

Many of the members of the East and West All-Star teams gushed about Thomas during Friday’s media day.

“Isaiah is an unbelievable competitor,” said Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul. “I thought he was going to be an All-Star last year, but I’m happy that now the rest of the league and the world gets to see how good he is.”

DeMarcus Cousins, who played alongside Thomas for three seasons in Sacramento, added: “It’s not even the talent that just makes him who he is. It’s his drive. That’s what separates him and makes him one of the elite smaller players in this league.”

For Romar, it still hasn’t fully sunk in that the little kid from Tacoma with the big smile and the headband is going to be sharing the court with 23 of the greatest players in basketball.

“Someone sent me a picture of All-Star weekend and it had Isaiah as part of it,” Romar said. “I just stared at it. Look at this. Wow.

“When he enters the game I’m going to have to tell my wife, ‘Right now you have to be quiet because I really have to focus right now.’ ”

Shortly after being notified the coaches voted him to his first All-Star Game, Thomas was on the phone with Chillious.

“I said, ‘You know, nothing changes in terms of what you do right,’ and before I could even finish the sentence, he said, ‘I know,’ ” Chillious said. “He said, ‘I got to go even harder now.’ That’s just his mindset. I think people get it confused with him.

“They say he plays with a chip (on his shoulder) because he’s small. Isaiah plays with a chip because he loves the game.”