BOSTON (CBS) — If you were losing sleep over the Celtics potentially playing an Isaiah Thomas tribute video the same day they were retiring Paul Pierce’s jersey, you can rest easy.
February 11 will now solely belong to “The Truth.” Well, that and the Celtics and Cavaliers game that will precede the ceremony, but then the day will belong to Pierce.
Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge had a chat with Pierce about the day, and the Celtics’ great did not want to share his special occasion with Thomas.
“Danny and I talked about it for 40 minutes,” Pierce told ESPN 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.
“That’s how we left it,” said Pierce.
Thomas tweeted Tuesday night that with all the hubbub that was going on over his tribute video, the Celtics should scrap it and honor Pierce.
Ainge said Thomas, who spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Celtics, was going to be honored during pregame introductions. Pierce said that Thomas had his chance for a tribute video when the Celtics and Cavaliers squared off on January 3.
“Danny tried to sell me on it, but I told him, ‘He had a shot, Danny, and he punked you on it. He pretty much dictated everything.’ They let it happen because they felt sorry how [trading him to the Cavaliers] went down. It’s guilt. That’s what it is,” said Pierce.
“Everyone understood where I was coming from,” Pierce said. “[Kevin Garnett] was like, ‘Isaiah who? Hell no, you’re damn right you’re not sharing your night with him.'”
Garnett wasn’t Pierce’s only former teammate to chime in on the matter. Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen, who shared the floor with Pierce during Boston’s 2008 championship run, were in Boston on Tuesday with the Pelicans. Both don’t think the Celtics should even honor Thomas.
“What has he done?” said Rondo.
When a reporter told Rondo that Thomas helped lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, he was not convinced.
“Oh, that’s what we celebrate around here?” he replied, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “This is the Boston Celtics. This isn’t the Phoenix Suns. No disrespect to any other organization but [the Celtics] don’t hang conference titles.”
“I’m with Pierce, man,” said Allen. “[Thomas] didn’t put in more work than Paul. Anybody disagree? OK. Paul Pierce put in big work, man. Why would they honor [Thomas] on that same day, man?
“Let my man get his jersey retired, man. Let him embrace that,” continued Allen. “He put a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this organization, man, and capitalized and had some good results. [Pierce] struggled with the team. I remember losing 19 straight with that man. Turned around and won a championship. Talk about Paul Pierce, man, don’t mention [Thomas’] name. The guys’ name that don’t stand in the same frame.”
Thus ends one of the more ridiculous spats for the NBA’s most successful franchises.