The “Boston Globe” has reported that Boston Celtics veteran All-Star forward Paul Pierce told reporters that he was not a driving force behind the decision earlier this month to decertify the NBA Players Association. Pierce spoke to reporters after playing in Rajon Rondo’s “Boston Charity Classic” which was held at Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday. Proceeds from the sold-out event will help Boston charities provide meals for the less fortunate this holiday season.
Pierce speaking to members of the media after the contest said “I never told nobody to decertify. That’s not something I was (attempting to do). A lot of players around the league have respect for me and they call me in the summer because they know I’ve got an understanding of what’s going on with the negotiations and a lot of players asked me about decertification. And all I did was bring the information to them. I didn’t push it one way or another. It was like they wanted to know so we got a conference call with a lot of the guys that was interested in it, talked to a lawyer about the ins and outs about it, and that was pretty much it. At the end of the day, it isn’t Paul Pierce saying this is what the guys are going to do. I’m only one vote. It’s got to be decided by everybody.”
Pierce said he was approached by his fellow players because he was in the Association the last time there was a Lockout during the 1998-1999 campaign. The veteran said “I’m very disappointed. I should be playing today. Who’s on the schedule? I think there’s disappointment on both sides. I was in here in ’98, who knows how many records I would have broken if I hadn’t gone through two lockouts?”
The Celtics star said that the last proposal made by the Association would not be fair to the players. He said “Right now I want to get a deal. I don’t have too many years left. But we want the right deal, that’s the most important thing. We don’t feel (the offer on the table) is a fair deal. If we did, we would have signed it.”
The forward told reporters he understands the frustration of the fans. Pierce said “It’s hard when you see the fans and you go out in the community and they ask you what’s going on and you can’t really give them an answer. It’s like a stalemate and I feel bad because these are people that are really our big fans who really enjoy watching us play. We’re depriving a lot of people. I hope it doesn’t go through full litigation but that’s the route the players have chosen and I am sticking with that route.”