Paul Pierce has a lot more free time on his hands this year before the new NBA season starts up. The Boston Celtics legend and incoming Hall of Fame inductee is no longer working as an analyst for ESPN after the network parted ways with him earlier this year following a scandalous Instagram Live video that saw Pierce drinking, smoking, and living his best life.
Pierce shared a video of himself laughing immediately after getting fired. He never apologized for the video, or expressed regret for his behavior. Instead, Pierce seems totally at peace for how his media career ended. In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, Pierce revealed that he had issues with the network long before he posted the video that got him canned.
SI’s Chris Mannix spoke to Pierce for a career-spanning interview that left no doubt The Truth is living up to his nickname in retirement. One of Pierce’s big issues at ESPN? He didn’t like having to talk about LeBron James all the time:
ESPN didn’t ask for an apology. The relationship between Pierce and the network had become strained over the past two years. Pierce hated the travel. Network executives didn’t think he was working hard enough. The video, industry sources told Sports Illustrated, was the last straw. “I was done with them, anyway,” says Pierce between pulls of lemon mint. “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.”
Pierce and James faced off 69 times in their careers before Pierce’s retirement, with James’ team winning one more time than Pierce’s. While Pierce’s Celtics scored some memorable series wins over James’ Cavs in the 2008 and 2010 playoffs, LeBron’s Miami Heat would take out the Celtics in 2011 and 2012.
Pierce has taken plenty of shots at LeBron before. He said he was James’ biggest rival and that the Celtics ‘sent the U-Haul’ for James to go to Miami. Pierce also left LeBron out of his top five players ever. The beef between James and Pierce goes way back. Check out our Beef History on the subject here:
Later in the interview, Pierce said he’s working on launching a podcast with former teammate Kevin Garnett, and wants to do a show where the two travel the world. That sounds awesome. It also feels like a safe bet it will include plenty of LeBron slander, knowing those two.
Pierce earned nearly $200 million in his career, so losing work from ESPN probably doesn’t sting too much. Hopefully The Truth keeps living up to his nickname in retirement.