It’s been the hot debate in the streets of Boston since we got word that the Celtics would not be playing Isaiah Thomas’ video tribute on Wednesday night per his request. His reasoning behind not wanting the video put on display that night was because first, he wants to actually be playing in the game. IT sat in last night’s primetime matchup due to his slow recovery from his hip injury. And second, because he wants his family there to watch the city that loved him pay him tribute.
The only night the Cavs come back to the Garden this season is February 11th. AKA, Paul Pierce’s retirement ceremony night.
After Wednesday night’s game IT had the situation brought up to him. This is what he had to say:
“That’s Pierce’s night, but the video tribute ain’t the whole night,” Thomas said. “I just wanted my family to be here to see [my tribute] and that’s what it came down to. I wanted to be able to play I wanted my family to experience the love and the appreciation that this city and this organization was going to give me on that night. When my representatives reached out to these guys, they were all for it and they agreed on it. I don’t know why [some people are] so mad about it. I’m not taking nothing from Paul Pierce. He did 15 years here.” (SI.com)
And while that’s fine and dandy that he has his reasons as to why he wanted the tribute pushed back, Pierce seems to be on a different page.
Paul Pierce is all for IT getting a tribute video from the Celtics…
Just not on the same night The Truth’s jersey gets retired
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 4, 2018
Listen, I get that some people might call this petty. But you need to see this from Pierce’s eyes. The guy gave his all to this city and it’s basketball team. And I’m not saying that IT didn’t because he damn well did. But Paul Pierce is certainly a future hall of famer, and fought through some of the lowest times of this franchise’s history.
If you want to compare the two, when IT came to Boston, first of all he didn’t want to be here at all. He disparaged the city. And once he arrived he fell in love with the place like we all knew he would. Most athletes do other than, you know, David Price and Carl Crawford.
But when IT came here, there was barely a pressure placed on his shoulders to win. It’s no secret that he shocked the NBA world when he morphed into an unprecedented superstar in the league. But at the time of his arrival, there was no thought that he, or the rest of the lowly, rebuilding Celtics, were going to win much of anything. Finishing first in the 2016 season in the Eastern Conference was no where near in order of the prioritized to do list.
Paul Pierce was a player who was seen as someone who was going to be around for a long, long time. He was drafted and viewed as a focal point to a potential championship going forward. And not to mention he actually won a championship and was apart of one of the most lethal Big Threes of this century.
I don’t blame Pierce for not wanting any attention drawn away from him on HIS big night. Because why would he? He gave his all to the city and brought us winning season, after winning season. He’s a legend. IT was a great player who we are all thankful for, but he wasn’t nearly as much of a critical factor in order to have the clout to be apart of Pierce’s night.
Pierce means so much to the Celtics and to the city, that he needs his own night. It needs to be Paul Pierce’s night. When you look up to the jumbotron during every time out, you should want to see that patented Pierce step back jumper in critical moments. You should want to see Pierce hoisting that trophy over his head that he fought for since draft night. And it shouldn’t be interrupted by Isaiah Thomas’ tribute video on February 11th.
Look, I couldn’t be more grateful for what Thomas did for Celtics fans over the last few years. He turned seasons that weren’t supposed to be much of anything into some unimaginable moments. And I will forever think of him as a Boston Celtic, regardless of if he wins a championship with Cleveland or not.
But February 11th should be Paul Pierce’s night and his night alone.
Written By: Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)