“He didn’t do a lot of complaining about situations. He adapted to situations.” – Oscar Robertson.
These things are always hard to write when a player retires. It’s funny, because they’re difficult to start, and then it just gets going. The only word that keeps circling me here is icon.
Paul Pierce was an absolute icon.
He scored over 26 thousand points, was a 10 time all-star, a finals MVP, and of course, a NBA world champion. Despite all of this, he’s still grossly under-rated by fans and historians. I had him as the 5th best Small Forward in NBA history, a few years ago when I ranked the top 5 players at each position, and man did that get some backlash. I stand by that selection 100% though. I listed some of his accomplishments earlier, but the manner in which he did them is what makes him a top-30 player of all-time.
Just prior to the 2001-02 season, he was very nearly murdered in a stabbing incident. It’s a feat to his character that he survived, let alone carried the Cetlics to the conference finals that season despite Antoine Walker being their second best player, and Kenny Anderson being their 3rd best.
I challenge any fan to name 2 other members of that team without searching it.
Then he stuck around while that team fell apart, only to be rewarded by becoming the leader of the Celtics’ big 3 that would claim the 2008 title. It’s sad that his career has come to an end, and as a fan I only wish he walked away after that ridiculous playoff run in Washington where he very nearly had 3 game winning shots in one series. He stuck around though and completely emptied the tank, and finishes his career with Doc Rivers, which is fitting.
Thanks for the memories, and enjoy your retirement sir. It might be a while before we see another player like the great Paul Pierce.