There were some faux tears and his voice cracked.
The moment was both funny and sincere.
"I'm a proud father," said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. "My little junior playing in the game. My little junior is a rising star. I'm proud."
Cousins' "little junior" is point guard Isaiah Thomas, who will play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night as part of All-Star Weekend.
Thomas is the only King participating in any of the weekend's events as a late addition to the game last week.
In a season that's been filled with more lows than highs, Thomas is the player coach Keith Smart identifies as having taken his play to another level this season.
But things haven't been smooth for Thomas. He beat out newcomer Aaron Brooks to keep the starting point guard job only to lose it to Brooks nine games into the season.
Suddenly, the player credited with assuming a leadership role on a team in desperate need of it saw his playing time dwindle to none some nights.
It wasn't how Thomas envisioned his second season playing out.
"I wasn't playing at all (as a rookie), and then I got a chance so I could showcase what I've got," Thomas said. "It wasn't new (to sit), but it was just hard because my first year I came from nothing to something, and to come from something to nothing, that was hard to deal with. I knew it wouldn't be long. I even told coach when he made the switch, 'I'm going to get my spot back.' "
Thomas' confidence never appeared shaken publicly. He continued to work and carry himself as a leader. He cheered on and encouraged teammates from the sidelines.
That didn't mean it was easy.
"There were nights I was down," Thomas said. "And I talked to a lot of people like Jamal Crawford, Isiah Thomas, Damon Stoudamire, and they said it's going to be a long road. You've got to have a consistent path, and when you do get in the game, when you do get your minutes, take full advantage of them."
Smart, however, had to eventually concede Thomas' intangibles were too strong to keep off the court.
Of the Kings' 19 wins, Thomas has started 12 of those games.
Now there's no question about who is the starting point guard.
"I think that's given him some confidence," Smart said. "He doesn't have to look over his shoulder and (think) if he makes a mistake he's coming out. He knows he can play through mistakes because if a guy is going to handle the ball that amount of time, you have to give him freedom to make mistakes."
Thomas is a basketball junkie in the way Smart would like all his players to be.
Smart said he could send Thomas a text message most nights about a play another point guard has made and it's not unusual that Thomas is watching the same game.
"I'm just trying to be a student of the game," Thomas said. "And for the most part I'm trying to be one of the best point guards in the league and that's learning from guys like Chris Paul, watching film on those guys and watching film of my mistakes. The main thing I do now is watch film, good games, bad games and try to build on that."
Thomas is averaging 12.1 points and 3.3 assists this season. Those numbers rise to13.3 points and 3.6 assists in 34 starts.
Thomas believes he's more than Mr. Irrelevant, the title that came with being the last pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
So he won't be in awe this weekend.
"That 60th pick stuff is out the window," Thomas said. "I'm one of the guys. I'm going to blend in, I'm going to play the best I can and showcase my skills to the world, not just Sacramento. That's a national exposure game. I'm just going to have fun and be me."
What Thomas can't escape is being 5-foot-9. Smart said that's not a concern anymore, even though Thomas will have to deal with questions about his size his entire career.
But the 6-11 Cousins won't let his little junior forget where or how tall he stands.
"I think about it everyday," Cousins said. "He gets a height joke at least once a day from me. But he's got the heart of a giant, and you can't take that away from him."