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Celtics Boss Danny Ainge is trying his best to do the right thing, but it just isn't working. Paul Pierce spent 15 productive seasons with the Boston Celtics and is scheduled to have his #34 retired on February 11. Paul was a 10-time All Star during his stint with the Celtics, leading his team to a Championship in 2008 while taking home the Finals MVP Trophy. He withstood the Rick Pitino era and often was the sole shining light on a team struggling to make an impact. He was brought to tears after he led his team to a Championship in 2008, and many of us wept with him. Paul was traded to the Nets after 15 seasons in Boston. He is The Truth, and we always loved him.

Here is a the glitch. Isaiah Thomas was originally slotted to have a video tribute when the Cleveland Cavaliers came to town on Wednesday, January 3, but requested that the date be changed to February 11, the same date as Pierce's number retirement. Isaiah came to Boston via a trade and spent two-and-one-half seasons here. He became a fan favorite and for good reason. His offensive exploits were phenomenal and his toughness unquestioned. Listed at a generous 5'9", he could take over games and exert his will on the opposing team. Pierce doesn't seem happy at all that Isaiah's tribute video will be shown on a night that was supposed to be dedicated to him, and frankly, I don't blame him.


Danny Ainge was traded by the Celtics to the Sacramento Kings (1989) in exchange for Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney, neither of whom ever set the parquet on fire. As a player, Ainge was known as a complainer and whiner, but I don't recall one complaint from Danny after the trade. Paul Pierce was traded in 2013, at the age of 35, to the Brooklyn Nets, along with Kevin Garnett as age and cumulative floor time were taking a toll on both. No complaints remembered from those two perennial stars either.


Both Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas demanded a lot of attention from the unfortunate opponents guarding them. But the difference between the two is that while Paul doesn't crave attention off the court, Isaiah does - in spades. Even low-key NBC Sports commentator Mike Gorman has had it. This what Gorman had to say (per The Boston Globe's Nicole Yang):

“I’m kind of tired with Isaiah, to be honest with you,” Gorman told hosts Fred Toettcher and Rich Shertenlieb. “He was a great player in the time that he spent with us — certainly had a year that was almost unmatched by anybody last year. But whether or not he ever speaks to Danny Ainge again, I don’t care. I really don’t care.”

Gorman is among that contingent that, as Shertenlieb put it, is arguing Thomas “overvalues his place in the pantheon of Celtics players.” Per that perspective, Thomas’ request that the Celtics postpone his homecoming tribute is a prime example of his egoistic tendencies.


Okay, so Isaiah demands attention (see above tweet) and deserves it. Just not on Paul Pierce's night. Thomas was the last player chosen in the 2011 NBA draft. Had to be pretty tough being the last kid picked, stand less than 5'9" and be heading to The Big League. Isaiah probably has never received the accolades due him, so he feels he has to provide them himself. Who orchestrates their own tribute? Apparently, Isaiah does.

My strong feeling is that Isaiah would like a storybook plot for February 11. He gets cheered by the fans and takes the floor against the team that traded him and wipes the floor with them - with the Cavaliers victorious. Do you think that may detract from Paul's number retirement? You bet! Anyway, it looks like the double tribute will go off as planned. Paul Pierce was a Celtic and never seemed right in the other uniforms he wore. He is making a bit of noise about his number retirement, and I am glad for that. He is getting the attention he never demanded.

Follow Tomat @TomLaneHC

Photo via John Mottern/AFP/Getty Images

Tom Lane 1/05/2018 05:41:00 AM Edit
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