Paul Pierce is a legend, and his nickname “The Truth” is an adequate way of describing him both on and off the court. Knowing this, it should be no surprise that he recently took to Instagram to post a photo of himself with former Boston Celtics teammate Ray Allen, clearly indicating that the past is the past, and it is time to move on.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) September 10, 2017
In the photo, Pierce is posing with Allen at the 2017 Super Penguin Celebrity Basketball Game event in China. Pierce tagged former teammates Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett in the caption, with the words “Time to get the band back together… #burythehatchet… no matter what happen [sic] we all formed a special bond that can never b [sic] broken #onceacelticalwaysaceltic”.
It’s important to know why this is vital. The 2007-2008 NBA season was a special one for the Boston Celtics. Led by the veteran Pierce and fresh off the acquisitions of stars Garnett and Allen in the 2007 summer offseason, the team posted a remarkable 66-16 record (an impressive turnaround from their 24-58 record the year before). In a single season, the Celtics literally vaulted from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to the top en route to a 2008 Finals matchup with the historic rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, beating the Lakers in six games to win the franchise’s 17th championship.
Following this, the Celtics continued to be one of the teams to beat, despite not achieving much deep postseason success aside from a rematch with the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals (the Celtics would lose in seven games). In the 2012 offseason Ray Allen decided to sign with the Miami Heat, who were now led by LeBron James and fresh off a Finals victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, for less money than he would have gotten from Boston. This move was viewed by Allen’s teammates as disrespectful to what they had built in Boston, and most of his teammates from that “Big Three” era still hold a grudge against him.
This was most recently displayed when Kevin Garnett hosted a reunion of some of the players from that 2008 championship team on his Area 51 show on TNT on May 8th, 2017. In addition to host Garnett, the reunion included Pierce, Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, and head coach Doc Rivers, while Allen was noticeably absent. Rondo had previously stated that Allen was “the enemy” and wouldn’t be invited, and sure enough, he wasn’t – a topic which was also detailed during a segment of the reunion show.
Rondo perhaps carries the most ill will towards Allen due to his exit really heralding the end of the that Big Three era. the Celtics would only compile 41 wins the next season and were again defeated in the second round. Both Garnett and Pierce were traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2013, and Rondo was left as the only star remaining from that era.
After all of the drama that has ensued, however, Pierce now seems to be willing to let go of the animosity. Clearly he understands why Allen did what he did, and he has accepted it and moved on to take steps to repair his relationship with his former teammate. Now the only question is whether his former teammates will follow suit and “bury the hatchet” with Allen, as well.
Only time will tell.