For Pete's Sake

Report: Paul Pierce likely to join ESPN full-time next season

Paul Pierce on ESPN.
Paul Pierce on ESPN.

Former KU star Paul Pierce raised eyebrows in the basketball world after Game 2 of the NBA Finals when he said Kevin Durant might be the best player in the world.

Yeah, better than LeBron James.

When Pierce made that claim on ESPN, Michele Beadle asked what he was drinking. Pierce responded that it was “Truth Juice,” which was a clever play off his nickname “The Truth.”

Viewers might be getting a full dose of “Truth Juice” next season, because a Sports Illustrated story said that ESPN wants to hire Pierce for a full-time gig on “NBA Countdown” and “The Jump” program. The apparently feeling is mutual as Pierce, who retired from the NBA this spring, is ready for a new job.

“I can work in LA, which is where I am from, and I am already used to people at the network after working with them the last two years,” Pierce told Sports Illustrated. “And Beadle makes everyone feel comfortable. It just feels natural to me talking hoops and analyzing the game. I feel like I have been doing it forever.”

Pierce has been a guest on ESPN’s studio show, working with Chauncey Billups, Jalen Rose and Beadle.

Amina Hussein, a coordinating producer for ESPN, is pleased with Pierce.

“He has been a breath of fresh air and his credentials and personality work well with Jalen, Chauncey and Beadle,” Hussein told Sports Illustrated. “What I have always liked about Paul from a far and even more now working with him is that he is honest not afraid of the moment.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff