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Paul Pierce On ESPN Split: ‘I Was Done with Them’
“I was done with them, anyway,” Pierce said, via Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. “It wasn’t a great fit. There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.”
Earlier this year, the 2008 Finals MVP went live on Instagram — which was something Pierce meant for only a “couple of hundred people” to see — and went viral. Alongside friends and strippers, while sitting at a poker stable, Paul is smoking while simultaneously receiving a massage from one of the partygoers.
Pierce: ‘I Didn’t Do Anything Illegal’
For ESPN, it was the final straw. But, for Pierce, it wasn’t an act that warranted an apology.
“Come on, I didn’t do anything illegal,” Pierce said, via SI’s Mannix. “There’s motherf—-s in the Hall of Fame, some did [cocaine], f—ing battery. What the f— did I do? I was just having a good time. All the people coming after me, half you motherf—–s do the same s—. You’re just hiding it. And you all are married while you’re doing it. I’m divorced. I’m retired. I’m having fun.”
Pierce’s agent Jeff Schwartz, per Mannix, suggested Pierce issue out an apology. In case the IG video tarnished his chances of becoming a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Paul’s longtime agent wanted to play it safe.
“The Truth” begged to differ.
“If I didn’t make it with this class,” Pierce added, per SI, “it would be the biggest stiff job in Hall of Fame history.”
2021 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
Alongside 11-time All-Star Chris Bosh, Chris Webber, and head coach Rick Adelman, the ninth-winningest coach in NBA history, among others, Pierce was ultimately named to the 2021 class. His former teammate Kevin Garnett, who was enshrined earlier this year as a member of the class of 2020, will present Pierce.
“It’s hard to be a kid and say, ‘I want to make the Hall of Fame,'” Pierce says, via SI’s Mannix. “I think all the players who make it play like they are going to go out and go as hard as they can, and the results at the end of the day, that’s what your career is.”
Other inductees include Toni Kukoc, who will be presented by Michael Jordan (’09), Bill Russell, as a head coach, and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace. The 2021 enshrinement ceremony will be held on September 11.