- NBA Countdown
- Jalen Rose called Paul Pierce “petty” for his handling of his ongoing feud with Isaiah Thomas and his jersey retirement ceremony.
- The controversy stemmed from Pierce’s insistence that Isaiah Thomas not be honored on the same night as his jersey retirement.
- In the end, it appears as if Pierce has gotten his way, but not everyone in NBA circles appears pleased with how he handled himself.
January has been full of drama in the NBA and it continued on Wednesday night as Jalen Rose called Paul Pierce “petty” to his face on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” for the way he had handled his now somewhat infamous feud with Isaiah Thomas.
By the look on his face, Pierce was not expecting, nor appreciative, of Rose’s critique.
Aye look….I know we beendown bad on Jalen Rose ever since Kobe dropped 81 on his head butyo…we gotta put some respeck back on his name after this ðxÜðxpic.twitter.com/FwiCKoylgN
— Harvey Specterâ¢ (@theJay_Show) January 18, 2018
Pierce tried to defend his stance, arguing that there would be tributes to him throughout the game of his time with the team, saying, “Now you’re taking another two minutes of memories off the tabl. But the rest of the “NBA Countdown” crew was having none of it.
“Can I tell you something about your birthday?” Rose asked. “It ain’t only your birthday. A lot of people’s birthdays happen that night.
The whole affair started when the Boston Celtics wanted to honor Thomas for his time with the team when the Cavaliers played in Boston earlier in January. Thomas requested that the Celtics not play his tribute that night, as he was sitting out the game and wanted his family to be in attendance for the occasion. The Celtics obliged, and said that they’d push back the tribute until the next time the Cavaliers came to town.
Unfortunately, the next game the Cavaliers had in Boston was already scheduled to be the night the Celtics retired Paul Pierce’s jersey. Pierce publicly came out against the idea of them both being honored on the same night.
“I’m not saying Isaiah shouldn’t get a tribute video,” Pierce said at the time. “But on February 11, the night I get my jersey retired, I’m not sure I want to look up at the Jumbotron and see Isaiah highlights.”
Since then, a feud of ego and pettiness brewed, with Pierce insisting that the night be his, even going as far as discussing the matter with Celtics president Danny Ainge to ensure he was the sole focus of the night.
“Danny and I talked about it for 40 minutes,” Pierce told ESPN’s Chris Forsberg on Tuesday. “He told me, ‘This is what we have planned,’ and at the end of the conversation, he said, ‘If you don’t want us to do Isaiah, we won’t.’ So I told him, ‘I really don’t.’ So that was it.”
After Pierce’s comments, Thomas tweeted out on Tuesday night that he wished for the Celtics to once again forego his tribute and instead honor Pierce for the entirety of the night.
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
In the end, it appears that Pierce got his way, but he got it at the cost of getting called out as “petty” by Jalen Rose on national television.
We’ll see how the whole situation finally shakes out when the Cavaliers travel to Boston on February 11.