Paul Pierce really doesn’t give a shit what people think. A recent Sports Illustrated story saw him directly answer the event that led to his firing from ESPN. You know, the time he posted an Instagram Live video that showed him partying at a friends place, where there were a few strippers.
He’s definitely not sorry for that.
“Still . . . sorry? “For what?” asks Pierce. It’s early July, and Pierce is reclining in a straight-backed chair at The Spot, a hookah lounge tucked into a strip mall in Encino, Calif. Around him, clusters of 20- and 30-somethings, many on laptops huddled over glowing screens, oblivious to the presence of basketball royalty. Hours earlier, Pierce was at home, a tailor dispatched by the Basketball Hall of Fame taking measurements for a suit to fit Pierce’s 6’7” frame. “I haven’t bought a new suit since I retired,” says Pierce. But he needed something to wear in September for his enshrinement in Springfield, Mass., 90 miles from where he spent the bulk of his 19-year NBA career.” (Sports Illustrated)
When his agent brought up the prospect of apologizing for posting the video, Pierce deadass didn’t care, either.
Pierce’s longtime agent, Jeff Schwartz, suggested Pierce apologize anyway. Schwartz worried that the video might influence Hall voters. Pierce didn’t. “Come on, I didn’t do anything illegal,” says Pierce. “These motherf—–s in the Hall of Fame, some did [cocaine], f—ing battery. What the f— did I do? I was just having a good time. All the people coming after me, half you motherf—–s do the same s—. You’re just hiding it. And you all are married while you’re doing it. I’m divorced. I’m retired. I’m having fun.” And if Hall voters had held it against him? “Listen,” says Pierce, “if I didn’t make it with this class, it would be the biggest stiff job in Hall of Fame history.” (Sports Illustrated)
Well, it turns out that ‘The Truth’ was right with his instincts. A single video, that admittedly showed him making a questionable decision during a global pandemic, had no effect on his enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He’ll be among the class inducted this coming weekend, on September 11 (USA time), and his resume speaks for itself.
Pierce played in the NBA from 1998 until 2017, and he won the NBA title in 2008 while grabbing the NBA Finals MVP award. He’s a 10-time All-Star, and scored 26,397 points (19.7 PPG), grabbed 7,527 rebounds (5.6 RPG) and dished out 4,708 assists (3.5 APG). He was also a part of the Celtics team that, along with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, terrorized LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers to the point where James went to go form his own superteam in Miami.
In his prime, Pierce was a straight killer and one of the most-feared scorers in the league.
He’s also part of one of the most memorable sequences in NBA history, where he looked to have gone down with a serious injury, only to come back and energize the Celtics into a victory.
What’s even funnier is how over a decade later, he admitted (maybe jokingly), that he may have actually just shit himself and needed a reason to get off the floor in a wheelchair.
And that’s just one example of why Pierce has always been a player that’s had other peoples’ tongues wagging. While we’ll probably never know the truth of what happened that day, it shows how Pierce has always found a way to entertain while playing the game of basketball.
The California native, who ironically spent the bulk of his career with the Boston Celtics after growing up as a Los Angeles Lakers fan, will never be forgotten by fans from Beantown, or by anyone who saw him play in his heyday.
One thing’s for sure, though. Pierce is a tough son of a bitch. Not a lot of younger fans will remember that he got stabbed 11 times in a violent club incident in 2000, but still played all 82 games. He wasn’t just stabbed, he needed emergency lung surgery after the fight. When someone’s able to go through something like that, it’s easy to understand why he doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks.
And guess what? He’s right. His game spoke for itself. He’s still one of the most clutch players in NBA history. If you look at the stats below (which are admittedly from 2020), LeBron James is the only one that has a chance of catching up.
Wherever he ends up next, ‘The Truth’ will always have fans. For now, he simply deserves to enjoy his moment. Congratulations, Paul, you definitely deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.