18 January, 2018
The Feb. 11 matchup between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers was one everyone was looking forward to since the day the schedule was announced - especially after the Celtics announced in August that they would be retiring Paul Pierce's jersey that night. He would blossom into a legitimate MVP contender in the 2016-17 campaign, when he averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game, while leading the Celtics all the way into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs.
So, after a long and laughably drawn-out process, it appears Pierce will have a night to himself and Thomas will have to wait or pass on a tribute altogether.
Thomas, who was acquired by the Celtics after a trade with the Phoenix Suns back in 2015, was named a two-time All-Star in his three years with Boston and led the team to the first seed in the East last season alongside Al Horford.
The Celtics, understandably, honored his simple request. "Talk about Paul Pierce, man, don't mention [Thomas'] name, the guys' name that don't stand in the same frame". However, he pointed out that his video would just be a couple minutes.
Pierce said that Thomas "had a shot to be honored" during the game earlier this month and should have had his tribute then, regardless of whether he was playing. "I just wanted my family to be here to see it". I wanted to be able to play. "They agreed on it". The Celtics already plan to devote the night to Pierce, whose No. 34 jersey is being retired and hung in the rafters of TD Garden.
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"(Thomas) had a shot to be honored", Pierce told ESPN. Danny Ainge had a chat with Pierce about the day, and the Celtics' great did not want to share his special occasion with Thomas. Now, I'm not saying Isaiah shouldn't get a tribute video.
"This is the Boston Celtics", he added, per the Telegram & Gazette . "I'm not sure I want to see an Isaiah video that night".
The former National Basketball Association champion explained to ESPN that he had a discussion with general manager Danny Ainge to make his point.
"That's how we left it", said Pierce. Allen said. "Yeah, I'm with Pierce, man".
With the tribute-video saga out of the way, Thomas can now fully focus on trying to help Cleveland claw their way out of a slump.