On Tuesday, another chapter was added to the extremely public feud between Paul Pierce and ESPN.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated sat down with Pierce to talk through his NBA career, NBA Hall of Fame induction, and, of course, his breakup with ESPN following an Instagram Live that went off the rails. While the Instagram video may have been the catalyst towards sending Pierce packing, the ESPN relationship with the former Celtics star had been deteriorating for months according to Mannix’s piece:
The relationship between Pierce and the network had become strained over the past two years. Pierce hated the travel. Network executives didn’t think he was working hard enough. The video, industry sources told Sports Illustrated, was the last straw. “I was done with them, anyway,” says Pierce between pulls of lemon mint. “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.”
Not only was their a feud surrounding logistics of travel, scheduling, and Pierce’s other commitments, but the content he was forced to discuss didn’t appeal to the 2008 NBA champion. LeBron James, understandably so, dominates headlines at all major networks surrounding the NBA and basketball.
Whether it’s his legacy, injuries, teaming up with other stars in large markets, or making deep playoff runs, James will be at the forefront of basketball discourse until his retirement. While Pierce was a fierce rival of James’ during the Boston days, he also heaped praise on him throughout his stint with ESPN. Apparently it got to be too much talking about “The King” for Pierce’s liking.