NBA players find all sorts of inventive ways to stay motivated. For some, it’s practically an art form. There’s no better example than Michael Jordan, who is the undisputed GOAT of latching on to petty grievances against his rivals to fuel his competitive drive, and as we learned from The Last Dance, that sometimes included his own teammates.
Shaq is another great example. The Big Diesel nursed a well-documented grudge against David Robinson throughout his entire career, claiming that the Spurs legend had once blew him off as a youngster as he was trying to get his autograph. Come to find out, the whole thing was manufactured wholesale.
Now, Iman Shumpert has added his name to the list. Shumpert says as a child attending a Bulls-Celtics game with his aunt, he tried to get a high-five from Paul Pierce as he and the other Celtics players were making their way to the locker room at halftime, but Pierce, surprisingly, wasn’t having any of it.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) December 27, 2020
Whether real or imagined, it certainly left an impression on Shumpert, and sure enough, Shumpert eventually got his revenge.
The only possible explanation for Pierce’s snub would be the comment Shumpert made at the beginning of the video, when he said his aunt told him to dress up in basketball clothes for the game, which given his allegiance to his hometown, quite plausibly could include Chicago Bulls gear. Pierce may have seen Shumpert in his Bulls cap or uni and decided to ignore him. We may never know the truth.