Smiling Boston Celtics icon Paul Pierce has responded after parting ways with ESPN amid outrage over an Instagram Live video featuring the former NBA star surrounded by scantily-clad women while smoking and drinking at a party.
Pierce, 43, shared the incriminating scenes on Instagram Live as he received a shoulder rub from a semi-naked woman while another could be seen twerking behind him at a party with friends.
The former Celtics star – who appeared worse for wear – could also be seen smoking and drinking in the video.
The married father-of-three came under attack for the footage, with some fans accusing him of setting a bad example and undermining his role as a pundit.
The executives at ESPN – which is owned by Disney – appear to have been unimpressed with Pierce’s behavior and have now parted company with him, according to reports in the US.
The network had recruited Pierce in 2017 after his 19-year NBA career came to an end. The 10-time All-Star featured as an in-studio analyst on ‘NBA Countdown’ and often appeared on ‘The Jump’.
In an apparent response to the news, the carefree Pierce posted a short video of himself laughing, adding the message: “Big Things coming soon stay tuned make sure u smile #Truthshallsetufree.”
“I can’t lose even when I lose I’m winning,” wrote the now-former pundit in a later tweet to his 4.1 million followers.
I can’t lose even when I lose I’m winning 🤔🤔😳😃😃😃
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) April 6, 2021
Fans, meanwhile, joked that Pierce had thrown his job away at ESPN all for the sake of 315 viewers of his wild antics on Instagram.
After the millions he made during his near two-decade career in the NBA, others claimed that Pierce was unlikely to care about his departure from the network.
ESPN wasn’t paying him what he made playing im the NBA , He is a millionaire im sure he doesn’t care.
— Hockey Guy (@HockeyG14838108) April 6, 2021
Uhh what? 🤨 “threw it all away” bruh The truth is GOOD for LIFE! Stop playing 💰🏆🏀…only bad thing is that Hall Of Fame nod might have to wait an extra year or two now. But forget ESPN they wasn’t paying him that much anyways he was just doing them a favor lol
— DreDay (@DreJay260) April 6, 2021
Pierce was NBA champion with the Celtics in 2008 and retired in 16th place in the league’s all-time scoring charts.
After 15 years with the Celtics, the Oakland-born star went on to have spells with the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and LA Clippers at the tail-end of his career.