The former Washington Huskies standout is the main attraction at his fifth annual Zeke-End tournament, but for the second straight year a hip injury will not allow Thomas to participate in the three-day event.

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Isaiah Thomas is ready to move forward and anxious to get back on the basketball court, but he won’t make the mistake – his word – that he made before and return too soon.

The former Washington Huskies standout is the main attraction at his fifth annual Zeke-End tournament, but for the second straight year a hip injury will not allow Thomas to participate in the three-day event.

“It’s absolutely killing me not being able to play because this is the stuff I love doing, which is going to gyms and playing in front of people around the community,” Thomas said. “Whether it’s here or (Jamal Crawford’s) Pro-Am or LA Fitness, I’m always on the court somewhere.

“You never know where you might find me. I’m always playing pickup somewhere. Other than the NBA season, that’s all I’m thinking about is coming home and playing ball.”

Even though he’s not playing, Thomas enlisted eight NBA players to provide plenty of star power.

The tournament will feature Jamal Crawford (free agent), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio), Terrence Ross (Orlando), Derrick Rose (Minnesota), Terry Rozier (Boston), J.R. Smith (Cleveland), Lance Stephenson (Los Angeles Lakers) and Kelly Olynyk (Miami).

“I’ll be in NBA games and guys will be like I’ve got to come to that tournament that you throw,” Thomas said. “Every year it’s getting bigger and better. The city is coming out and supporting us every year. We’re getting acclimated to how to run a big event.

“It puts a smile on my face knowing we’re giving people a chance to see NBA players when they might not have that opportunity. We’re just building this event to be something that everybody looks forward to.”

Inevitably any conversation with Thomas will turn to how the 5-foot-9 guard went from being a cult hero in Boston who was in line for a maximum contract in the range of $150 million this summer to the player sidelined by a hip injury for most of the past two seasons before signing a one-year, $2 million veteran’s minimum deal with the Denver Nuggets.

“It’s always hard because I’m human at the end of the day,” Thomas said. “I’ve always looked forward no matter what has happened in the past.”

Thomas was living a modern-day basketball fairy tale. He was the little kid who starred for the Huskies and was taken with the 60th (last) pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

After stints in Sacramento and Phoenix, Thomas thought he found a home in Boston where he was a two-time NBA All-Star (2016 and 2017) and carried the Celtics to the 2017 playoffs while playing with an injured hip and broken heart due to the tragic death of his sister Chyna.

However, Boston traded Thomas to Cleveland last year and he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers midseason.

Thomas underwent an arthroscopic surgical procedure on his hip in February and is expected to return for training in September.

The 29-yeaer-old star is at a crossroads once again.

“I’m feeling good and real close to getting back to who I was or I should say, who I’ve always been and who I am,” Thomas said. “I’m in a good place. I’m always positive about a lot of things. I’m just rehabbing each and every day. I’m almost clear. That’s a good thing.

“I feel a lot better than I have in a long time. I can’t wait until the season to start and do what I’ve always done.”

Thomas has spent his entire life overcoming the odds, but heading into his eighth season he’s not interested in proving his critics wrong.

“I just want to be healthy,” Thomas said. “Everybody knows what I bring to the table when I’m healthy. I don’t have anything to prove. I just want to go out there and be healthy and be able to enjoy it.”