Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony does not look like it will serve as a reunion for the Boston Celtics’ Big 3.
ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported on Saturday that Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are not expected to attend Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday.
The Celtics are honoring Paul Pierce with dinner tonight before retiring his jersey tomorrow. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo (with the Pelicans) are not expected to attend Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony tomorrow, a source said. pic.twitter.com/oKa0i2LKwd
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) February 10, 2018
Rajon Rondo, who was the other star player on the Celtics’ championship team in 2008, will not be there either as his New Orleans Pelicans are on a road trip.
It’s unclear whether Allen, Garnett and Rondo were asked/urged to attend, but it’s understandable why they might not be there. Garnett lives in Los Angeles and keeps pretty busy with his work for TNT. Allen has been on the outs with his former championship team ever since leaving for Miami, but Pierce has been the one asking for that to be rectified.
There’s some other news on this front, too. With Isaiah Thomas being traded to the Lakers, that whole video tribute controversy is now moot.
- Paul Pierce
Boston Celtics all-time great Bill Russell is weighing in on perhaps the strangest controversy involving the team in recent memory.
The 11-time champion commented on Thursday about Paul Pierce’s objections to Isaiah Thomas getting a video tribute from the Celtics on the night of Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony. Responding to a segment discussing the matter on Kevin Garnett’s “Area 21” show on TNT, Russell defended Pierce, tweeting that the 2008 Finals MVP handled it better than he would have.
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) January 19, 2018
Pierce will be getting his jersey retired by the Celtics on Feb. 11 during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas, a former Celtic and now a Cav, was scheduled to get his own video tribute on that day as well but, in the wake of Pierce’s protests, has since stated that he longer wants one on the same day.
Many have criticized Pierce over his handling of the situation, but having arguably the greatest Celtic ever in his corner is a heck of an endorsement.
Jalen Rose did not hold back when telling Paul Pierce he thought he was “petty” for the way he handled the whole Isaiah Thomas situation.
Rose and Pierce are both analysts/personalities on ESPN’s NBA coverage and talked Wednesday prior to the network’s coverage of the Lakers-Thunder game. Rose offered his opinion on Pierce telling the Boston Celtics to quash a Thomas video tribute on Feb. 11, which is the same day the team is retiring Pierce’s jersey.
Rose told Pierce to his face he thought he was being “petty” for not sharing the spotlight.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 18, 2018
A lot of folks agree with Rose. Thomas receiving a video tribute before the Cavaliers-Celtics game on Feb. 11 probably would not take away much attention from Pierce’s jersey retirement celebration. However, Pierce wants the day to be all about him and does not want to share with Thomas.
At least Pierce has a backer in one of his former teammates, if not one in Rose.
Paul Pierce apparently has won his staring contest with Isaiah Thomas.
The former Celtics guard tweeted on Tuesday that he no longer wants Boston to play a video tribute of him when his new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, visit TD Garden on Feb. 11.
I'd like to thank the Celtics for their gracious offer to play a video tribute on Feb 11th celebrating my 3yrs in Boston. But since it appears this has caused some controversy w/ Paul Pierce's night I'd ask the Celtics instead to focus all of their attention on #34's career.
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 17, 2018
There was a controversy that arose earlier this month over what would happened on Feb. 11. Pierce is set to have his jersey retired by the franchise that day, and he said he didn’t want anything else (like a Thomas tribute) taking attention away from his day.
Thomas had an opportunity to receive a tribute from the Celtics on Jan. 3, but he declined it because he was not playing and he wanted his family to be able to attend so they could enjoy it. It looks like his video tribute will have to wait until another time.
Paul Pierce seems frustrated that a supposed conflict has emerged between him and Isaiah Thomas.
A story that made headlines on Thursday was one about Pierce saying he didn’t want any Thomas video tributes playing during the Cavaliers-Celtics game on Feb. 11. The Celtics will be retiring Pierce’s jersey that night, which will also mark Thomas’ second game back in Boston since being traded to Cleveland.
Here’s what Pierce tweeted Thursday night after seeing that the story had made headlines.
Is this really a topic
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) January 5, 2018
Here’s what Pierce said on ESPN’s “The Jump” that caused the headlines.
“I’m not saying Isaiah shouldn’t get a tribute video … but on Feb. 11, the night I get my jersey retired, I’m not sure I want to look up at the JumboTron and see Isaiah highlights,” Pierce said on ‘The Jump’ Thursday.
Thomas’ return to Boston actually occurred on Wednesday night, but he didn’t play in the game because he is working his way back from a hip injury. Thomas asked for the Celtics to shelve his tribute until February, when he would be playing and his family would be able to attend to appreciate it.
“That’s Pierce’s night. But, like, the video tribute ain’t the whole night,” Thomas said. “I just wanted my family to be here to see it. That’s what it came down to. I wanted to be able to play. And I wanted my family to experience the love and appreciation this city and this organization is going to give me on that night. And when my representatives reached out to these guys, [the Celtics] were all for it. They agreed on it.”
The Celtics are now in a predicament, though GM Danny Ainge seemed to indicate they would honor both players, while keeping the focus mostly on Pierce.
“I think Paul said it best: He’s going to be the appetizer, the main course and the dessert. I thought that was pretty funny,” Ainge told the “Toucher and Rich” program. “I think it won’t interfere with Paul. And Paul understands that, everybody understands that. It’ll be a great game and a great moment. And Isaiah deserves it, in our minds.”
Based on Pierce’s comments Thursday, it seems he might be bothered by a Thomas tribute. This may not be so easy for the Celtics to resolve. They had better make sure Pierce is 100 percent OK with the Thomas tribute before doing it. The last thing they need is for Pierce to have yet another Celtics-related beef.
A popular player comparison for Boston Celtics rookie forward Jayson Tatum is none other than C’s legend Paul Pierce, and The Truth himself believes it.
In an interview Thursday with A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England, the retired 10-time All-Star discussed the similarities between Tatum and himself.
“He looks like an older version of me, when I started doing the step-back and stuff,” said Pierce of the Duke product. “When I’m watching him, he looks like a mature version of my game, like sixth, seventh, eighth year. He sees the defense. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. He understands his position, footwork, his step-back [jumper] is there. His offensive repertoire seems complete. The sky is the limit for that kid.”
The 19-year-old Tatum, who went No. 3 overall to Boston in this year’s draft, has been lauded for his fundamental scoring skills and his overall offensive maturity, attributes that Pierce was known for during his 19-year career. The former Finals MVP was in favor of the team’s decision to trade down for the pick that they ultimately selected Tatum with, and it sounds like he’s rooting for the youngster to become his heir apparent as the next great Celtic forward.
Paul Pierce thinks it’s time for the 2008 Boston Celtics to let bygones be bygones.
Pierce was recently reunited with Ray Allen for a celebrity basketball game in China. He took the opportunity to call on Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett to reunite with the guard, who fell out with his former Celtics teammates over his decision to join their rivals in Miami in 2012.
Will this work? Who knows. Pierce will certainly have some pull over this group as a franchise icon and the most accomplished Celtic since Larry Bird. Rondo, though, has made it completely clear that Allen is persona non grata — and has implied that some of his teammates felt the same way.
Given how deep that antipathy seems to run, it’s unlikely that one Instagram post from Pierce will erase all that, though it’s a step in the right direction.