The NBA is a deliciously petty league. You love it, I love it, we all love it. It’s why the league is so dang fun.
If you’ve been paying attention to the league or NBA Twitter in recent days, you’re almost definitely aware of a rather specific beef between two former Boston Celtics: Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas.
Pierce is set to have his No. 34 jersey retired by the Celtics on February 11, when Thomas’ new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, come to TD Ameritrade Garden. The problem is this: the Celtics are wanting to honor Thomas with a tribute video *gasp* the same night as Pierce gets his jersey retired.
Now, I couldn’t care less if Pierce has to share his night with a minute long Thomas thank you video. And neither should you. But I am not Paul Pierce, and Paul Pierce has gone out of his way to make it clear that he doesn’t want to share his night with no dang Isaiah Thomas tribute video.
“(Thomas) had a shot to be honored. You came to Boston. Whether you are playing or not, you should have had your tribute then. I just don’t see how, if someone is having a jersey retirement, they’re going to be running other tributes for other players.”
Uhh...sure, man. If you say so.
Thomas then tweeted this in light of Pierce’s fracas:
I'd like to thank the Celtics for their gracious offer to play a video tribute on Feb 11th celebrating my 3yrs in Boston. But since it appears this has caused some controversy w/ Paul Pierce's night I'd ask the Celtics instead to focus all of their attention on #34's career.— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) January 17, 2018
And now the whole stupid thing’s resolved and now we can move on with our lives right? WRONG. Last night on ESPN’s NBA Countdown, Pierce’s colleague Jalen Rose had this to say right to Pierce’s dang face:
And if THAT wasn’t enough, Dime Magazine posted the link on their Instagram and Thomas- oh shit- LIKED the post!
Now, I’m a teacher, so I hear about a lot of petty bullshit from my kids all day long. Beef between 11-year-olds is miserable to put up with. But beef between grown-ass adults who just so happen to be professional athletes and members of the sports’ national media? kisses fingers* That’s the stuff I live for.
So let’s look again at all the participants in that video and rank the faces made during Rose and Pierce’s hissy fit. Is this list pointless? You bet! But so too is this Pierce-Thomas beef. We’re all going to die at some point, so we might as well eat at Arby’s and enjoy a truly remarkable minute long video.
No. 5: Tracy McGrady
FOH with McGrady and his role in all this. “Who??? On what part???” This whole beef is complete nonsense and McGrady has an “I’m offended for you, Paul” face around the :41 second mark. Get outta here with that.
No. 4: Woj
Poor Woj. Pause the video around the :27 second mark and look how uncomfortable that man is. On the outside he’s smiling, on the inside he’s definitely screaming internally. He looks like he’s watching mom and dad fight. Or he’s making the face I like to imagine Tom Brady made when the Patriots banned his
quack snake oil salesman personal health guru Alex Gurrero from their premises. Woj in that moment in time is the human embodyment of the “this is fine” dog gif.
No. 3 Michele Beadle
Beadle is all of us. Check her out around the :27-:28 mark and watch her acting like she isn’t loving all of this, but eating it all up on the inside. The “ooooh haha” a few seconds before is excellent and I love the way she’s just leaning back in her chain and letting it rotate from one side to the other like she’s Doctor Evil.
No. 2 Jalen
That’s the look of every NBA bench ever when one of their teammates dunks on somebody with particular vigor. Except Rose is the one dunking on Pierce in this situation. You may not know this, but this exchange is actually what Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” is about.
No. 1 Paul Pierce
Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff. Hook this into my veins. That face? That’s the face of a man getting dunked on and knowing he can’t do anything about it. The narrow eyes, the slack jaw and open mouth, it’s all so beautiful. Replace whatever’s on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and put this in its place.