Cavs' Thomas asks Celtics to nix video tribute

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 17 2018 12:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2018 02:09 PM

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas (3) walks off the court after being ejected in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Brad Rempel, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

(UPDATED) Paul Pierce won't have to share the spotlight with Isaiah Thomas after all.

The Boston Celtics planned to honor former player Isaiah Thomas with a video tribute on Feb. 11 before taking the floor in a game against the point guard's new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Just one problem: That is the night the Celtics are retiring the jersey of Pierce, a team legend, and Pierce wasn't happy sharing the stage.

Pierce spoke out earlier this month against the Celtics showing a Thomas video on Feb. 11, and he told ESPN on Tuesday that he talked with Boston general manager Danny Ainge to request the team cancel plans to honor Thomas that night.

On Tuesday, Thomas tweeted that he would rather the Celtics focus on Pierce.

Thomas wrote on his Twitter account, "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.

"I look forward to coming back and playing in Boston on Feb 11th and see all of the great fans whom I will always remember for their love and incredible support the past few years."

The Celtics previously planned to have a Thomas tribute when the Cavaliers visited Boston on Jan. 3, but Thomas asked them to hold off since he wasn't able to play in that game due to a hip injury. That development didn't please Pierce.

"(Thomas) had a shot to be honored," Pierce told ESPN on Tuesday. "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.

"Danny tried to sell me on it, but I told him, 'He had a shot, Danny, and he punked you on it. He pretty much dictated everything.' They let it happen because they felt sorry how (the trade to Cleveland) went down. It's guilt. That's what it is."

Ainge told ESPN that Thomas always planned to decline a Feb. 11 tribute after Pierce objected.

"I wanted to make it clear that it was never my intention or Isaiah's intention to take away from the special day for Paul Pierce," Ainge told ESPN. "And no one was ever comparing IT to Paul Pierce. We all owe Paul a lot. Everyone in the organization."

Ainge added that the Celtics intended only to have a pregame video for Thomas during player introductions.

"During the rest of the game, it was going to be all Paul Pierce," Ainge told ESPN. "But, after listening to Paul's perspective, I understood it and shared it with Isaiah and he understood it, too."

Thomas was a two-time All-Star in Boston before being traded to the Cavaliers in the offseason. He has played in just five games this season, averaging 13.6 points as he tries to find his place in the Cleveland offense.

Pierce averaged 21.8 points over 15 seasons in Boston, making 10 All-Star teams along the way. He also was named NBA Finals MVP when the Celtics won the title in 2008.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.