I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again: No one is coming out looking good from this public drama-fest over Paul Pierce Night at the Garden next month. No one. Not Paul Pierce who told the Celtics to kill any video tribute to Isaiah Thomas who’s in town that night with the Cavs. Not I.T. who turned down the treatment last time Cleveland was in Boston. And not Danny Ainge who can’t keep a Google Calendar straight.
Bad looks all around. Except for maybe Rajon Rondo, the third man in, who managed to nuke the Phoenix Suns while also heat-checking Isaiah Thomas on Tuesday. That’s the kind of fire I am interested in. .
And just as you thought that story might finally just fade away—Jalen Rose just crashed an 18-wheel tanker truck full of premium diesel fuel into a warehouse of strike-anywhere’s.
Last night on ESPN’s NBA Countdown, Jalen Rose turned to his colleague, Paul Pierce, and hit him with this:
“I got a say word for you, fam. I think it was petty. On Paul Pierce’s part. To me, there are going to be all types of announcements that happen during the 48 minutes of that game. All types. (Celebrating Isaiah Thomas) could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation, like Kobe’s that happened during game, because they’re doing yours postgame.”
Jalen Rose–from the top ropes. Forget all the valid points about the different types of announcements that will made, or the fact that Pierce’s tribute is going down postgame and the planned video for I.T. was going down hours before during pregame. Forget all that. It comes down to these five words from Rose:
“I think it was petty.”
Nothing Jalen said after that really mattered because the headlines are already written. The soundbites are already cut. Do you know how much conviction it takes to do your guy like that? Rose called Pierce petty knowing it would go viral. Knowing it would make Pierce look terrible. And he did it anyway. And he wasn’t wrong! That’s a former player doing his co-worker like that on national television. And you know what? Credit for saying it. Because it’s one thing for an egg behind a keyboard to throw that shade. It’s entirely different when a former player cracks his co-worker, and all time Celtic great as “petty” on national TV. Right to his face.
I’m not saying Pierce is the only one to blame here. Far from it. But Pierce asked for this noise. Thomas didn’t schedule his tribute the night you’re getting your jersey retired, Paul, Danny Ainge did. And to everyone saying Thomas doesn’t deserve any tribute at all, settle down. It’s video tribute; that’s going to last a couple of minutes. And I have no problem with it: the guy had a huge role in turning around an embarrassing Celtics squad. And play through tragedy and injury: played right after his sister died, and after getting a chicklet blasted out of his dome, and through a torn labrum in his hip; and was able to grind through the whole thing. Of course, he should have a short tribute. And Pierce pushing back as hard as he is against does make him look petty. Rose is right.
Only thing missing now is Rondo. Where’s Rondo when you need him now, Truth? Where’s that guy to drop some, “Jalen, who?” Blast?
Look, I’m not picking sides here. The whole thing is pretty weak, and pretty childish. But it’s also kind of hilarious. We’re talking about tribute videos here. And after Jalen stamped his boy with the petty gloss, Dime Magazine re-posted the video on Instagram. And guess who publicly liked the post for the world to see? You already know: The official handle of Isaiah Jamar Thomas.
Troll level infinity.
This is usually where I’d say I can’t wait for this story to die—but I’m genuinely interested to see how this thing plays out for the next three weeks.
We’re two days into this thing, with 25 to go till ceremony night, and Pierce has already taken a petty blast to the face. I actually can’t wait to see what’s next.