Last Monday Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce was officially let go from ESPN following his controversial Instagram Live posts. The posts featured smoking, drinking, and adult entertainers. There are several theories as to why Pierce may have been so brash. Was he ignorant to ESPN’s policies? Did he really not care? Was he already on his way out?
Pierce then tweeted “Good Morning” later in the evening, presumably after sleeping off his exploits.
Good morning— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) April 4, 2021
All of this was a bit of a surprise but not exactly shocking. Pierce wasn’t succeeding in his NBA analyst role and was notably unremarkable. The way he went out may have been a bit out there but it seems to be more common than previously thought. James Harden did basically the same thing in his efforts to force a trade from the Houston Rockets. Regardless of how this all happened, it means that Pierce is entering another phase of his post-playing career.
Thus the most plausible theory pertaining to his departure from the worldwide leader is that he was already planning an exit. After all, he knows ESPN has a zero tolerance for controversy, even though he may have actually done nothing wrong. Shortly after his official firing, he made it clear he had no remorse about his actions. He tweeted out a quick response saying that big things were coming.
This means that he has other career opportunities. My personal guess would be that he is working towards finding an environment where he can be more of himself. It’s no secret that ESPN can be a very confining workplace. Disney owns ESPN and makes that blatantly obvious to all of its employees. Compared to Fox or Turner, the rules are simply different.
This doesn’t mean Pierce wants to feature strippers in all of his future content, although if he wants to, he is perfectly within his rights to do so. No, this most likely means he wants to get away from the rigidity that was his ESPN broadcasting life. In this age of infinite media outlets, why would Pierce not move on to find something that is more fulfilling to him?
Paul Pierce is a legend. He’ll be entering the Hall of Fame this year (first ballot). His actions may not have been liked, but they weren’t wrong or criminal. Now, he is free to find an outlet that he truly enjoys. Hopefully, like James Harden, we will see him showcase his talents in a new environment.
Photo: (Kirby Lee – USA Today)