Thomas thanked the Celtics for offering to show a tribute video, but said they should focus on Pierce's jersey retirement.
Isaiah Thomas wants Feb. 11 to belong to Paul Pierce, and Paul Pierce alone.
Thomas tweeted that the Celtics offered to show a tribute video for him when he returns to Boston as a member of the Cavaliers on Feb. 11, but suggested the franchise focus solely on Pierce's jersey retirement, which will take place that same night.
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
Pierce said on ESPN's The Jump that he did not want the Celtics to show a tribute video for Thomas on the same night his jersey was being retired. He cited the Lakers' handling of Kobe Bryant's jersey retirement, noting that multiple videos were shown honoring Bryant during breaks from the action. Pierce said he'd like to have the same thing for him.
The Celtics initially had a plan that would have avoided this conflict altogether—that was to show the tribute video on Jan. 3, when the Cavaliers made their first visit to Boston. But Thomas was still being eased back from his hip injury and didn't pay in what was the second of a back-to-back for the Cavs.
Thomas initially said he didn't feel that a short tribute video from him would take away from Pierce's night.
“That’s Pierce’s night, but the video tribute ain’t the whole night,” Thomas said shortly after Pierce's original comments. “I just wanted my family to be here to see [my tribute] and that’s what it came down to. I wanted to be able to play I wanted my family to experience the love and the appreciation that this city and this organization was going to give me on that night. When my representatives reached out to these guys, they were all for it and they agreed on it. I don’t know why [some people are] so mad about it. I’m not taking nothing from Paul Pierce. He did 15 years here.”
Pierce played 15 seasons in Boston and is the franchise's number two all-time leading scorer. He made ten All-Star teams as a Celtic and reached the finals twice, winning the title in 2008 and losing to the Lakers in seven games in 2010.
Thomas played just two-plus seasons for Boston after he was traded during the 2014-15 season, but his 28.9 points per game average is the second-highest average in Celtics history behind Larry Bird's 1987-88 campaign (29.9).