Since his abrupt dismissal from ESPN in April, Paul Pierce—who was fired after acting a complete ass on Instagram Live—has been laying low and enjoying life as a retired NBA player. For his 19 years of service, he’ll be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. And to commemorate such a distinguished honor, the Boston Celtic great sat down with Sports Illustrated to reflect on his legendary career and what went wrong at ESPN.
According to Pierce, the network “wasn’t a great fit,” and when you factor in the travel demands of the job, in addition to ESPN execs openly questioning his work ethic, the relationship had gone stale long before the 10-time NBA All-Star decided to hop on Instagram Live with weed and strippers.
“I was done with them, anyway,” he told SI. “There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.”
Now, as for the infamous video, the 2008 NBA champ also explained why he’s refused to apologize for it despite his agent’s insistence.
“Come on, I didn’t do anything illegal,” Pierce said. “These motherfuckers in the Hall of Fame, some did [cocaine], fucking battery. What the fuck did I do? I was just having a good time. All the people coming after me, half you motherfuckers do the same shit. 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.”
He also addressed the possibility that his stance could’ve killed his hopes of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“If I didn’t make it with this class, it would be the biggest stiff job in Hall of Fame history,” he said. “It’s hard to be a kid and say, ‘I want to make the Hall of Fame.’ I think all the players who make it play like they are going to go out and go as hard as they can, and the results at the end of the day, that’s what your career is.”
Whether he should’ve apologized for the video or not, the fact remains that for his contributions on the court, he absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame. And if you think he’s over the way ESPN kicked him to the curb earlier this year, Pierce fired off a tweet in May taking aim at his former employer after he cashed in on cryptocurrency.
“@espn I don’t need you,” Pierce tweeted. “I got @ethereum_max I made more money with this crypto in the past month [than] I did with y’all in a year. TRUTH shall set u Free.”