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Paul Pierce: 'Having To Talk About LeBron All The Time' Amongst ESPN Gripes

Photo: Jim Rogash

Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Paul Pierce is happy that his time at ESPN is overdue to the fact that, among other reasons, he doesn't have to "talk about LeBron [James] all the time" anymore.

During a profile on his life and career with Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix ahead of his upcoming enshrinement, Pierce acknowledged that his time at ESPN "wasn't a great fit" and said he believes a breakup was inevitable.

“I was done with them, anyway,” Pierce said. “It wasn’t a great fit. There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.”

James -- both as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat -- was consistently the biggest challenge for Pierce's Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference during the late 2000s and early 2010s, leading to a bitter rivalry between the two small forwards that extended beyond Pierce's playing career.

SB Nation chronicled the two perennial all-stars' feud in its 'Sports Beef'YouTube series, which can be viewed below.

Pierce, who is set to be presented for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame by former teammate Kevin Garnett on Saturday (September 11), was let go by ESPN in April after the NBA legend shared a controversial Instagram Live video the weekend previous weekend.

Reporters Ryan Glasspiegel and Michael McCarthy initially shared the news of Pierce's tenure with the company coming to an end Monday (April 5) evening citing "sources."

Minutes after reports of his firing, Pierce shared a three-second clip of himself on social media laughing with "#smile" included in the video and the caption, "Big Things coming soon stay tuned make sure u smile #Truthshallsetufree."

On April 2, the former NBA Finals MVP was shown in the video smoking and playing poker with friends as several strippers danced in the background.

At one point, Pierce, while being massaged by one woman, appears to address a female commenter by saying, "Monica, you should be here, you could make some money, girl. Stop playing. Monica, what you doing? If you're in L.A., come through."

The 43-year-old then pulled his phone out to get a wider shot, showing a woman twerking on the floor in the background.

Pierce had contributed to ESPN's NBA coverage on 'NBA Countdown' and 'The Jump' since retiring from his playing career in 2017.

The former NBA champion began as a regular studio analyst prior to the 2017-18 NBA season and had previously contributed to ESPN and ABC's 'NBA Countdown' coverage as a guest analyst during the final two seasons of his playing career as part of the 2016 and 2017 NBA Finals coverage.

You can read Mannix's full feature on Pierce via Sports Illustrated's official website here.

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