Former Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce will enter the Naismith Hall of Fame later this week, commemorating his remarkable career in basketball. However, it’s strange to think about when the 43-year-old was last in the public eye, it didn’t have anything to do with what he did on the court.
This spring, Pierce was dismissed from his role at ESPN after he posted a controversial Instagram Live of him drinking and smoking while surrounded by strippers. The extremely public departure from the network encapsulated the sports world, but the former NBA star was rather quiet about the incident and made no effort to apologize for his actions.
That’s because Pierce felt no need to say he was sorry and he’s finally explained why he feels that way.
Sports Illustrated released a profile on “the Truth” ahead of his Hall of Fame induction this week where he directly addressed the night in April that led to his split with ESPN. He maintained that he has no regrets about what happened and still believes that he didn’t do anything wrong.
Here’s some additional context from SI’s Chris Mannix:
Here’s what happened: In April, Pierce was playing poker at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. There was drinking. And smoking. And strippers. And after a little too much drinking and smoking, Pierce decided to start an Instagram Live and, well, show off the strippers. He went on for a few minutes, riffing, he thought, for a couple hundred people. When he finished, he deleted it. He didn’t know IG Lives can be recorded (they can) and reposted (it was). Pierce went home that night thinking no one noticed. He woke up the next day and discovered everyone had.
Still . . . sorry? “For what?” asks Pierce.
Pierce continued on, explaining that he’d grown weary with ESPN since he’d joined in 2017. He wasn’t a fan of the travel and the network had grown frustrated with his lack of preparation for segments and appearances. The video finally gave ESPN and Pierce a reason to part ways.
“I was done with them, anyway,” Pierce told Mannix. “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.”
Paul Pierce has no regrets as he prepares to enter the Hall of Fame—not even for that one video https://t.co/LrbQydpHTc
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 7, 2021
There was some question if Pierce’s Hall of Fame candidacy would take a hit after the video. That frustrated the former Finals MVP and NBA Champion, who felt like plenty of other players had been enshrined after committing more serious transgressions.
“Come on, I didn’t do anything illegal,” Pierce explained to SI. “These motherf—–s in the Hall of Fame, some did [cocaine], f—ing battery. What the f— did I do? I was just having a good time. All the people coming after me, half you motherf—–s do the same s—. You’re just hiding it. And you all are married while you’re doing it. I’m divorced. I’m retired. I’m having fun.”
Pierce ended up having not to worry about his spot in the Hall of Fame as voters pushed him through in his first appearance on the ballot. He’ll be enshrined in Springfield this weekend.