Early on Saturday morning, retired Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce went live on Instagram and drew a great deal of attention. The images broadcast by Pierce featured a house party of some kind, with dancing, smoking and drinking, and NBA players were almost live-tweeting the action, both as it was happening in real time and once the videos began making the rounds after the fact. At the time, there was certainly speculation that Pierce’s current employer, Disney by way of ESPN, would not be thrilled with what was shown.
In the end, that seems to be the case, as multiple outlets are now reporting that ESPN is parting ways with Pierce.
Source: ESPN parted ways with Paul Pierce effective immediately
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) April 5, 2021
BREAKING: ESPN and NBA Legend Paul Pierce have parted ways, according to sources.
Pierce posted videos of himself with exotic dancers on Instagram Live Friday night. Pierce has played a key role on 'NBA Countdown' + other ESPN basketball programming.
ESPN declined to comment.
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) April 5, 2021
Pierce’s primary role with the worldwide leader has been as a central piece of NBA Countdown, though he has also appeared on other studio programming like The Jump. Following the Instagram Live, Pierce’s first tweet also grabbed attention, as he wished everyone “good morning” in the late evening hours of Saturday.
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) April 4, 2021
At this time, there is no official statement from ESPN or confirmation that the two sides have parted ways. However, all signs point to that being the case, and the next steps for both the network and Pierce will be interesting. Pierce himself seemed to confirm the news with an odd video on Twitter of him just laughing, and insisting “Big Things” are coming soon.