Paul Pierce Passes Larry Bird On Celtics All-Time Scoring List
Even Larry Bird would admit that it was fitting to be passed by with a 3. With 10:23 left in the 3rd period Paul Pierce took a kick-out pass at the right elbow of the 3-point line, and poured in a trey that pushed him past Larry Legend into 2nd place on the Celtics all-time scoring list. The Pierce story is one of the most remarkable tales ever told in the city of Boston, but it tends to be forgotten due to the overwhelming era of New England sports that The Truth has been a part of. When you play in an era populated by guys named Brady, Papi, Pedro, and you’ve got teammates named KG & Ray, even a wonderful career like Pierce’s can get overlooked.
Imagine if Paul Pierce had been a lifelong Cleveland Cavalier, a Golden State Warrior, or even a Portland Trailblazer. What if a 13-year veteran played at a hall of fame level for one of these (or similar) franchises throughout the life of his career, while scoring over 21,797 career points and captaining a 66 win juggernaut that beat Kobe Bryant in the Finals in his lone MVP campaign? In many cities this resume would put Pierce on the town’s sporting Mount Rushmore. In Boston, he isn’t even the marquee player of his generation.
When speaking post game about his team’s undisputed leader, coach Doc Rivers said of Pierce,
“Here’s the part I wish people wrote more about Paul: Paul had a chance to leave us when we were bad. And instead of moaning that he wanted to go to a championship team, he stayed. And he said, ‘I simply want to be a Celtic and I trust that we’re going to win a title some day.’ He had no reason to believe that, at that time. I mean, we were pretty awful. And to me, I wish people talked about his loyalty more, because I think that’s special, especially in this day and time, when everybody’s jumping from team to team.’’
When asked to reflect on what all of this means to him, Pierce offered the following,
“Just having confidence in the ownership and, just knowing how great this franchise can be, knowing the history, knowing that once this franchise gets back to where it needs to be and if I’m a part of it there’s no other franchise like this in all of basketball. You knew eventually it would turn around. I’ve just always been the optimist just knowing eventually ‘the next year, the next year’ that’s what I always kept saying to myself that it would eventually turn around and it took one summer for us to turn this thing around and I’m just thankful that my patience was able to pay off.’’
In no way is any of this a moratorium on the life and times of Paul Pierce. The young man from Inglewood, California who played his college ball at Kansas still has plenty left in the tank. Winners of 5 straight and 9 of their last 10, the Celtics are again playing great basketball, buoyed by the play of their captain. Do they have enough to knock out Chicago or Miami this spring when the money is on the table? Probably not, but with Pierce at the helm they’ll die trying.