Ex-Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas has put his former team in a awful bind with Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement one month away. The problem started with Celtics brass not putting their foot down right away and saying “Isaiah we love you, but that night belongs to the most important Celtic since Larry Bird.” That should have been the end of it. However, they seemingly forgot that it was Pierce’s retirement ceremony on February 11, which is the next time the Cavs come to Boston.
I do not want take ANYTHING away from the little guy, especially because in such a short time he did mean a lot to the city and myself. Thomas’splaying right after the tragic death of his sister was one of the most inspirational moments in Boston sports history and I.T. will always have a special place in this city’s heart. He helped lead them three playoff appearances, a two time All-Star, second Team All-NBA selection, and was very active in the community. Had his career lasted longer, the C’s may have had to make some room for No. 4 in the rafters. Unfortunately a businessman made business decision. It happens and while many felt torn between the trade when it transpired, it was clearly the right move for the organization.
The decision should come from Pierce, and petty or not, he doesn’t want I.T.’s video shown on his night. Game over. Enough said. Let’s move on. But then we have Isaiah saying it’s not a big deal if his video is the same night. Well, it clearly matters to man of the night, so he should respect that. Plus, has another player ever had a tribute video shown on another guys jersey retirement night? Not that I can remember. Having an Isaiah tribute on Paul’s night would be like proposing to someone at another couple’s wedding. Now because the situation was handled so poorly it makes everybody look bad. At the end of the day, Isaiah had an opportunity to play agains the Celtics January 3rd but decided to play the night before vs. Portland. I don’t know when it Thomas’ tribute video should come, because he absolutely deserves to be honored, but just not on February 3. The only other thing I can think of would be to change Pierce’s night to a later date, which most likely will not happen.
So many pundits have stuck their nose in this debate, and no one was as far off than Nick FS1’s Nick Wright. I think he’s smug and panders to an audience that loves to stir the pot over something so trivial. Not to mention he has the most punchable face on television. His comments to Cris Carter had absolutely nothing to do with the argument which was is it fair to for Isaiah to insert himself in one of the all-time great Celtics players.
Pierce talked about Kobe Bryant’s ceremony in how he “enjoyed watching that throughout the game,” Pierce said. “Hopefully the Boston Celtics will do that for me. I’m not sure I want to see an Isaiah video that night.” Did he compare his career to Kobe’s? No. We all know Kobe was on another level, but Pierce was Boston’s big name for fifteen seasons. Wright in turn tried twisting Pierce’s words to the extent that he was trying to compare his career to Kobe’s. Then Wright starts comparing Pierce to Isaiah saying that the ladder’s best season was better. Isaiah had an incredible, MVP-caliber season last year, but was it really better than Pierce’s? They both only got as high as the second team All-NBA, and while Isaiah topped him in scoring Pierce was still the more complete player. There’s really no debate on who was more important to this franchise (which was not was what this debate was all about in the first place.)
Paul Pierce spent 15 seasons in Boston and in that time he accomplished so much more. He was an All-Star ten times, made an All-NBA team four times, a three-point champion, an NBA CHAMPION, and a Finals MVP. Pierce is the second leading scorer in Celtics history as well. Let us all not forget that Pierce was almost killed when he was stabbed eleven times and went on to play in all 82 games that year, not to mention the charitable work he did during his time here.
No. 34 made Celtic basketball relevant again and he should be honored the way he wants come February 11.