Former NBA stars Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have had a famously rocky relationship since Allen left Boston and joined the Miami Heat. The two won a title together with the Celtics in 2008, but Allen’s decision to defect to the rival Heat in free agency in 2012 didn’t sit well with Pierce, and the relationship between the two soured as a result. The rift remains a spicy topic among NBA fans, and during a recent appearance on the All The Smoke Podcast hosted by former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Pierce explained why he had an issue with Allen in the first place and how he feels about his former teammate today.
“This is my whole deal with Ray. One, he went to our rival,” Pierce said. “LeBron James was a rival of the Celtics, regardless if he was in Cleveland or Miami. Those were some of the [most] heated matchups. It was just like ‘damn, they just beat us, and then you’re going to go over there.'”
“Two, I was calling him when [the Celtics] were in the middle of contract negotiations before he left. He’s not answering anybody’s calls and I’m hearing he’s talking about going to Miami. He’s not returning my call. I just feel like as a certain respect as a teammate, as a brother, we can have this conversation. If you’re not wanting to play with us no more, at least let us know something. But to just don’t say nothing to us and to just get up and go over there, I felt that was a slap in the face or disrespect from a brother. So that was my whole beef with him. Since then, me and him have talked, I smoothed things over with him. But initially, as a brother, somebody you’ve been through things with, I felt it was disrespectful.”
This wasn’t the first time that Pierce has alluded to the fact that he and Allen had moved on from their issues. Back in 2017, Pierce posted a picture of him and Allen to his Instagram page with the following caption: “Time to get the band back together… No matter what happen we all formed a special bond that can never [sic] b broken #onceacelticalwaysaceltic.”
Allen has also previously stated that he doesn’t have a problem with Pierce or any of his other former Celtics teammates.
“I don’t have any ill will,” Allen said in 2017. “When I left, I was a free agent. It’s disheartening when you hear things negatively that people say about you, because when you win, you’re in love. You love each other. The families are in close-knit proximity at all times. We won together. When you win together, you always share that bond. That, to me, has never changed.”
Time tends to heal wounds, and that appears to be the case between Pierce and Allen, who will forever be linked together as champions in the history books.