National/World

NBA’s Paul Pierce talks of love of Shabbat in racy video that led to ESPN firing

(JTA) – In the middle of a racy viral Instagram video that preceded his firing from a broadcasting gig at ESPN, NBA legend Paul Pierce spent over a minute lauding the Jewish ritual of a sit-down Shabbat dinner. Pierce is not Jewish, but during the live-streamed video from his house over the weekend – the Hall of Fame finalist gets massaged by scantily clad women and appears to smoke marijuana while flaunting COVID-19 social distancing protocols – he said the family style of meal on the Jewish Sabbath contrasts with his upbringing.

At first, Pierce, who is married with three children, says that a friend playing poker across the room “skipped Shabbat” to attend his party. The friend retorts that he isn’t Jewish. “Hey man, shout-out to all the Jews for Shabbat. I wish I could come to Shabbat,” Pierce says in response. “Shout-out to all my Jewish homies, I got love, I know Friday night’s your night … I’ll see y’all on Sunday.”

He then tells his feed of Instagram commenters that he would like to attend a Shabbat dinner. “Can somebody invite me to [their] Shabbat? I would love to have a sit down meal like that, ’cause I really never had that type of family environment growing up, you know what I’m saying? I would love to join one of y’all Shabbats. I never had that in my life … I never had my pops around,” Pierce says. He then looks seriously into the camera and says “I don’t know. I wish I could see what that’s like.”

Main Photo: Paul Pierce in Chicago, Feb. 15, 2020, for the NBA All-Star Game. (Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Stance)

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