Pierce Cements His Legacy Passing Bird in Scoring
Paul Pierce isn’t just my favorite Celtic. He’s my favorite basketball player of this era.
I can hear your comments already. “He’s getting old”…”What’s exciting about his game?”…well, not as much as a Lebron or Kobe. The word that quantifies Pierce’s greatness as a lifelong Boston Celtic is consistency. It’s staggering. #34 has averaged a touch over 22 points a game for 14 seasons, and has never had a season average of less than 15 points a game. In nearly a thousand NBA games, Pierce has compiled 21,797 points (and counting). He passed Larry Legend last night at the garden with a vintage Pierce 3 from near the top of the key.
“I’m not going to lie. It was hanging over my head too much,” Pierce said. “You kind of just felt it. It was hard to really ignore it and just focus on the game…It was a relief. So much was hanging over me the last couple of days. Just hearing about it and knowing that you’ve got a game to play,” Pierce said. “Just to be mentioned with [Bird], with this organization, is a great honor.”
Last night’s 15 point, 9 assist, 8 rebound effort is a microcosm of his 2012 “turn back the clock” season, and for his entire career. He was never the most prolific scorer, but night in and night out he consistently brought (and continues to bring) it for the C’s, through literally everything under the umbrella of “adversity” since 1998.
He’s been through it all in the time he’s spent in a Celtics uniform. A nightclub stabbing that he was lucky to survive early in his career, trade rumors coming in out like beach waves, rebuilding, more rebuilding, the loss of owner Red Auerbach, 5 different head coaches, and a rags to riches championship season in 2008.
When the kicks are finally hung up and the jersey goes on his living room wall, Paul Pierce will sit on the Gahhden Mount Rushmore with Bird, Russell, and Red. It’s rightfully so, but it’s not because of any points total accumulated over his career. It’s because of his never-ending work ethic to get better as a basketball player and a Celtic in the Boston community. Pierce is right up there on the list of truly loved Boston Athletes forever, Imagine what one more championship would do for this guy?
Here’s the shot that got him past Larry Bird in the Celtics record books: