Long Live the Truth: A trip down Paul Pierce memory lane as a legend says goodbye

Nineteen years after he was drafted No. 10 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce played his final NBA game Sunday. The Utah Jazz won 104-91 in Game 7 of their first-round series, eliminating Pierce and the Clippers and ending the legendary career of Pierce, who announced he will retire at the end of the season -- as a Celtic. There will be plenty of time for retrospection between Sunday and his Hall of Fame induction in five years, but for now, let's take a trip down Paul Pierce memory lane. 

Ended final game in Boston with a late 3-pointer

A TD Garden legend, Pierce started his final game in Boston with a standing ovation, and ended it the same way, drilling a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that nearly blew the roof off the building. It was a perfect ending, and yet another memorable moment for a player who had so many there throughout his career.

Trash-talking Al Harrington

"Pierce ...buries it!" 

Pierce was trash talking with Harrington for so long that the ref came over and told them to shut up, and he then casually rose up and buried a triple right in Harrington's face. 

Iconic. 

Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals

Look, everyone has their jokes about the wheelchair and whatever; that's always going to be a part of Pierce's legacy. But even if you can't stand Pierce, you can't deny how legendary of a moment it was when he checked back in and then immediately drilled two 3-pointers that helped spark the win. 

Buzzer beater vs. the Knicks and subsequent celebration

The shot was impressive, but everyone remembers this moment for the celebration, which was truly incredible.

Nate Robinson tries to jump on Pierce's back as he runs around like an airplane, but can't get up high enough, then tries again, and knees Pierce right in the side of the head. 

pierce1.jpg
Paul Pierce gets kneed in the head by a leaping Nate Robinson. YouTube user: NBA

Robinson then goes for a ride.

pierce2.jpg
Robinson goes to the floor.  YouTube user: NBA

... which gave us a classic Ray Allen reaction (definitely would have been a meme, if memes were a thing back then.)

pierce3.jpg
Ray Allen looks disgusted with Robinson's antics.  YouTube user: NBA

And then, of course, there was Pierce's rendition of a Kevin Garnett bow at the end. 

Buzzer beater vs. Hawks in the 2015 playoffs

"I Called Game." 

Late 3-pointer over LeBron in the 2012 ECF

Though it ended up being in vain, thanks to LeBron's incredible Game 6 performance a few days later, this cold-blooded triple over The King was the last great shot Pierce hit as a Celtic.

Duel with LeBron in Game 7 of the 2008 second-round series

This whole game, this whole Celtics-Cavaliers series, in fact, was incredible, and Pierce and James capped it off with a classic postseason duel, each going for 40-plus, as the Celtics escaped. 

Missed dunk/revival by CP3

This is easily one of the funniest on-court moments of Pierce's career.

26-point comeback vs. Nets in 2002 ECF

This is a bit of a deep cut, but it's pretty incredible to go back and watch a young Pierce lead the Celtics to a 26-point comeback against the Nets in the 2002 Eastern Conference finals. Before that game, teams leading by 19-plus entering the fourth quarter in the playoffs were 171-0. That's 171-0! (Also, shoutout to Antoine Walker.)

Dunks on Chris Bosh and Chris Mihm

He wasn't the most athletic player of all time, but Pierce could throw down some nasty slams, especially early in his career. 

Career-high 50 points in duel with LeBron

In one of his earliest duels with LeBron, Pierce got what would be his career high, pouring in 50 points. Just like their battle in the '08 playoffs, it's pretty cool to go back and watch them go at it early in their careers. 

It's a bit surprising, giving his scoring prowess, that Pierce only got to 50 points once in his career.

Buzzer-beater and clutch shot compilation

This video is 14 minutes long, which is ridiculous, and a good reminder of just how many clutch shots Pierce hit over the years. There are the obvious ones everyone remembers, but a nice mix of deep cuts in there as well. You know a player is clutch when he has so many buzzer-beaters that there are some you've never even seen before. 

Tribute from his first return to Boston with the Nets

The trade that sent Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn was a heartbreaking one for both the city and this duo. Yet in the end, it has blessed the Celtics with an abundance of riches. 

Even in leaving the Celtics, Pierce helped their quest for another banner to hang in TD Garden. His tribute video from his first game back in Boston after the trade is pretty sweet, and a good way to wrap things up. 

Long live The Truth. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories