Sports

Paul Pierce Says Goodbye to Basketball in Boston

     Paul Pierce, 10-time NBA All-Star  and the 2008 Finals MVP, announced his retirement from the game of basketball on Sept., 26, 2016. In a video released by The Players’ Tribune, Pierce said he would ride out the 2016-17 season, giving himself the opportunity to play in each of the NBA stadiums one last time. Pierce said, “Just like any difficult decision, I think you’ve got to be at peace with yourself. I’m at peace with retiring, but I’ve got one more ride left. One more season. One more opportunity.”

     On Feb. 5, 2017, Pierce played in Boston, Massachusetts for the very last time. Although Pierce will be finishing out his career with the Los Angeles Clippers, he has Boston to thank for launching his professional career. In Pierce’s goodbye game in Boston, fans were given the opportunity to show Pierce their thanks and appreciation, and Pierce was able to breathe in all that gratitude.

     Pierce entered the NBA draft after his junior year of college in 1998, when he had played for the University of Kansas. Selected as the 10th overall pick in the first round of the draft, the Boston Celtics took on the young Pierce. Game by game, season by season, Pierce built up his reputation in the NBA.

     On June 17, 2008, Pierce led the Celtics to an NBA Finals victory by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to two in the series. Among big-name teammates like Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, Pierce was crowned the Finals MVP.

     In 2013, Pierce ended his Celtics career when he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Pierce played only one season for the Nets before heading to Washington for a year, and then finally to Los Angeles where he has played since 2015.

     Even as a member of the opposing team, Boston’s stadium was packed on Feb. 5 to give Pierce the goodbye he deserved. Pierce gave Boston an NBA Championship and 15 years of his career, and Boston showed him nothing but their utmost respect as he closed out his career at TD Garden. Pierce’s name was announced before the game as if he were a member of the home team, and fans stood and applauded for their beloved athlete.

     In very unusual fashion, Pierce went scoreless for most of the game. With 11 seconds remaining on the clock, however, Pierce netted a three-point shot to leave his first-ever NBA home-court with a swish. Boston won the game 107-102, but Pierce was celebrated for so much more than that single-game performance. Fans jumped and cheered as Pierce made his final bucket in Boston, giving the star the sweetest sort of closure.

     Sources: NBA.com, The Washington Post

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