|No. 34 – Washington Wizards|
|Born|| October 13, 1977|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 (201 cm)|
|Listed weight||235 lbs (107 kg)|
|NBA Draft:||1998 / Round: 1/ Pick: 10th|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Pro career||1998-present (18 years)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Paul Anthony Pierce (born October 13, 1977), nicknamed "The Truth" is an American professional basketball small forward with the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Pierce was a high school McDonald's All-American and earned First Team All-America honors in his junior year at Kansas.
Pierce spent the first fifteen years of his career with the Boston Celtics, who drafted him with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. In July 2013, Pierce was included in a landmark deal that sent him to the Nets, along with teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.
During his time with the Celtics, Pierce had been a starter on the team for every season. He is a ten-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA team selection, and also led Boston to the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, winning the 2008 NBA Finals. He was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP in his first trip to the NBA Finals. Pierce also is one of only three players, alongside Larry Bird and John Havlicek, who have scored over 20,000 points in their career with the Celtics alone. He holds the Celtics' record for most three-point field goals made. He also ranks third in team history in games played, second in points scored, seventh in total rebounds, fifth in total assists, and first in total steals. His nickname "The Truth" was given to him by Shaquille O'Neal on March 15, 2001.
Pierce was born and raised in Oakland, California. His family later moved to Inglewood, California where he was the star of Inglewood High School's basketball team during his junior and senior years. He also participated in the 1995 McDonald's All-American Game alongside future NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury, and Antawn Jamison, and was a contestant in the game's Slam Dunk Contest, which was won by Carter. He grew up a Los Angeles Lakers fan and dreamed of playing with the Lakers.
On January 31, 2012, Pierce was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald's All-Americans.
Pierce averaged 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his three seasons at the University of Kansas, where he majored in Crime and Delinquency Studies, and earned MVP honors in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in both 1997 and 1998. Pierce played for Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams at Kansas. One of his teammates was future Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. He entered the NBA Draft after his junior year and was selected with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Boston Celtics (1998–2013)Edit
After his NBA debut, Pierce's ability to score, rebound and play defense, and a healthy dose of late-game heroics led to his emergence as a top player in the Eastern Conference. Along with forward Antoine Walker, Pierce led the Celtics to the playoffs in 2002 for the first time in seven years and on to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the historic Game 3 of that series, he led the Celtics to one of the biggest fourth-quarter comebacks in NBA playoff history. Pierce scored 19 of his 28 point total during the fourth quarter, and the Celtics recovered from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New Jersey Nets.
Trade rumors involving Pierce swirled when Danny Ainge returned as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations in May 2003. Ainge laid most of these rumors to rest in the 2006 off-season by signing Pierce to a 3-year, $59 million contract extension.
Injury and missing playoffsEdit
In the 2005-06 NBA season, Pierce had the highest points-per-shot average among the top 30 scorers in the league, indicating that he is an efficient and consistent player. On March 8, 2006, Pierce extended his franchise-record streak of 30-point games at 8. On March 7, he scored seven points in overtime to beat the Washington Wizards on a "buzzer beater", and the next night the Celtics eked out a victory against Philadelphia on the strength of two late-game improbable shots by Pierce, one a three-pointer, the other an off-balance "buzzer beater" for the win. He scored at least 30 points for the 13th time in 14 games (between February 4 and March 12), the best such stretch in Celtics history.
He followed up this stellar season with an injury-riddled 2006–07 campaign that saw him miss the first significant stretch of games in his career, due to a stress reaction in his foot. In spite of this injury, he still managed to put up his usual stellar numbers in the 47 games in which he saw action. But the Celtics, during that season, would have an 18-game losing streak and one of the worst seasons in franchise history, going 24–58.
NBA champion and Finals MVPEdit
Prior to the 2007–08 season, he expressed great excitement at the Celtics' acquisitions of fellow All-Stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and at the chance to contend for a championship. He slimmed down to his college weight of over 300 lbs. and vowed to pay more attention to defense, as he would not have to carry the offense anymore.
Prior to the 2007–08 season, he expressed great excitement at the Celtics' acquisitions of fellow All-Stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and at the chance to contend for a championship. He slimmed down to his college weight of 235 lb (107 kg; 16.8 st) and vowed to pay more attention to defense, as he would not have to carry the offense anymore.
On April 28, 2008, Pierce was fined $25,000 by the NBA for an alleged menacing gesture after falling to the ground and being taunted by Al Horford in Game 3 of the first round in the 2008 Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks on April 26, 2008. Sources claimed this gesture was a gang-related hand sign, but Danny Ainge, general manager of the Celtics, stated that Pierce has been repeatedly doing it before and that it was not gang-related, but rather a symbol used within the team. Pierce himself denied it, adding that his foundation was committed to helping urban youth keep away from gangs.
Pierce at the championship parade of the 2008 NBA Champions Boston Celtics. On May 18, 2008, Pierce recorded the second-highest point total in franchise history in a Game 7 with 41 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. On June 5, 2008, in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Pierce was injured in the third quarter and was carried off the court in serious pain. However, he came back to the court only a few minutes later to spark the Celtics with 15 points in the third quarter en route to a 98–88 victory. He went on to lead the Celtics to their 17th championship after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to two. Pierce was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after the Celtics' 131–92 victory in Game 6 on June 17, 2008. Not long after winning the championship, Pierce was asked, "Is Kobe [Bryant] really the best player in the world?" Pierce responded by saying, "I don't think Kobe is the best player. I'm the best player. There's a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don't cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself." The quote drew minor controversy.
Coming up shortEdit
Pierce and the Celtics looked to repeat as world champions during the 2008-09 NBA season. Pierce missed only one game the entire season and led the team in scoring. He was named to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game and for the first time to the All-NBA Team Second Team. Despite Pierce's success, with Kevin Garnett hurt the Celtics lost in the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. At the 2010 NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Pierce became the first Celtic since Larry Bird to win the Three-Point Shootout. In game 3 of the first round between the Celtics and Miami Heat in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, Pierce hit a 21-foot jumper at the buzzer to beat Miami 100–98, and give the Celtics a 3–0 series lead. The Celtics went on to win that series, and also defeated the heavily favored Cavaliers in the second round. They faced the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, and beat them in 6 games to advance to their second Finals appearance in the Big 3 era. They faced off against the Lakers in a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals, and took a 3-2 lead heading back to Los Angeles. However, in part due to the loss of injured center Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics were blown out in game 6 and lost a 13 point second half lead in game 7, losing the deciding game 83-79. On June 29, 2010, Pierce opted out of his contract and triggered his early termination contract to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2010. However, on July 2, Pierce and the Celtics verbally agreed to a four-year extension keeping him in Boston through the 2013–14 season. On November 3, 2010, during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Pierce scored his 20,000th career point on a free throw, becoming the third person in Celtics history to reach that milestone solely in a Celtics uniform. The Celtics finished the season with the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and swept the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the Celtics took on the Miami Heat and their big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Celtics lost to Miami, who eventually moved on to the NBA Finals, in five games. On February 7, 2012, during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Pierce scored fifteen points to pass Larry Bird for second place on the Boston Celtics' all-time scoring list. He was named to his tenth NBA All-Star appearance on February 9, 2012. He then played his 1,000th career game with the Celtics on March 9, 2012 against the Portland Trail Blazers; only Pierce, John Havlicek, and Robert Parish have played in over 1,000 career games for the Celtics. For the 2011-12 season Pierce averaged 19.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game as the Celtics finished the season 39-27. In the playoffs, the Celtics would beat the Hawks in six games in the first round, as Pierce averaged 21.2 points per game during the series. In the conference semifinals the Celtics faced the Philadelphia 76ers led by Doug Collins. They pushed the Celtics into a full seven game series, but the Celtics won the final game 85-75. The Celtics then played the Miami Heat in the conference finals. Pierce hit a crucial 3-pointer over LeBron James in game 5 to take a series lead of 3-2, but the Celtics lost the last two games, and the Heat advanced to the NBA Finals. The 2012–13 season did not go well as planned for Celtics, with All-Star Point Guard Rajon Rondo out with a torn ACL injury. However the Celtics managed to clinch the 7th seed in the playoffs with a 41-40 season record (with one game not played because of the Boston Marathon bombings). The Celtics lost to the New York Knicks in the 1st round in six games. Pierce averaged 19.2 points per game in the playoff series loss.
Brooklyn Nets (2013–2014)Edit
On June 28, 2013, the day of the NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets reached a deal to trade Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry for future first-round picks in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 drafts and Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans. The deal was completed on July 12, 2013. Brooklyn also received D. J. White. Pierce convinced Garnett to waive his no-trade clause so that the deal could come to fruition. The Celtics took out a full-page advertisement in the Boston Globe thanking Pierce and Garnett for their contributions to the team. At an introductory press conference with Garnett and Terry following the trade, Pierce stated, "We are championship driven... We made a lot of money in our careers. We have won a number of awards. At this point right now, we are about winning a championship. Brooklyn gives us the best opportunity.
Washington Wizards (2014-present) Edit
On July 17, 2014, Pierce signed with the Washington Wizards
On September 25, 2000, Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back and had a bottle smashed over his head while at the Buzz Club, a late night dance club in the Boston Theater District. He had to undergo lung surgery to repair the damage. Nevertheless, Pierce was the only Celtic to start all 82 games in the 2000–01 season. Also, witnesses say that Pierce was attempting to separate the fighters when he was stabbed. Tony Battie, Pierce's teammate at the time, along with Battie’s brother, saved him by rushing him to a nearby hospital.
Pierce was a member of the US national team for the 2002 FIBA World Championship, starting all nine games and averaging 19.8 ppg. Pierce was also selected for the United States National Basketball team for the 2006 FIBA World Championship, but did not compete because of minor off-season surgery.
His nickname, The Truth, was accorded to him by Shaquille O'Neal after a 112-107 Lakers' victory over the Celtics on March 13, 2001 in which Pierce scored 42 points on 13 of 19 shooting. O'Neal pulled a Boston reporter over and gestured toward his notepad. "Take this down", said O'Neal. "My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the [expletive] truth. Quote me on that and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth."
NBA career statistics Edit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
- Correct as of 2012–13 season
Regular season Edit