Paul Pierce is getting set to go into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this Saturday — the second such ceremony of the year after the 2020 induction was moved to earlier this spring. That will mark the next time we see Pierce on television, but what his future is in terms of being a public figure in the basketball world remains to be seen after his departure from ESPN earlier this year.
Pierce was let go by ESPN in April after a wild Instagram Live video went viral of Pierce at a party with dancers, smoking weed, and talking to the camera (taking away any excuse of an accidental post). The Truth apparently was unaware that IG Live videos could be recorded and reposted, thinking when he deleted the video after going Live, all was well. That wasn’t the case and ESPN took that opportunity to let Pierce go early, although the two appeared headed for a breakup soon anyways.
According to Pierce, who recently spoke with SI’s Chris Mannix ahead of his Hall of Fame induction, he and ESPN weren’t a good fit for a number of reasons, among them the constant coverage of a certain former rival.
“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’s lack of fondness for LeBron James is pretty well known. After struggling to get by Boston in his first stint in Cleveland, James would eventually beat up on the Celtics and successfully recruited Ray Allen to leave Boston for Miami, ultimately destroying the core of that 2008 title team. He would then go on to spoil Pierce’s jersey retirement night, as he lit up the Celtics in his second stint with the Cavs, as Pierce sat courtside. It is rather funny that Pierce was so frustrated by having to talk about James constantly that he was fine tanking his own career at ESPN, because at least it means he doesn’t have to have LeBron debates on air anymore.