In Appreciation Of… Paul Pierce

paul pierce

Getty Images Photo

We are spending some time looking back over the Boston Celtics championship season… in an effort to truly appreciate the efforts of those involved. In the first three installments, we’ve appreciated Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and the Team Owners. We then spent time appreciating our key bench players, like PJ Brown, Leon Powe, Glen DavisEddie House, and James Posey.  Over the past week, we’ve appreciated our starters:  Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.  The thirteenth installment of our fifteen part series is our final player appreciation.

Rick Pitino did something right. 

Not only did he take Paul Pierce in 1998… he held onto him.  No small feat for Rick.

That era seems so long ago, it’s almost amazing to think that Paul Pierce was a part of it.  Actually, when you think about it, Pierce might have seen the absolute lowest points of this franchise’s history.  He saw Pitino do his damage, and suffered through last year’s debacle.  Maybe it was necessary for him to suffer so he could do what he did this year.  Maybe it wasn’t.  But it does make this year’s effort from the captain all the more special.

For once, Paul Pierce didn’t have to do it all on offense.  And that resulted in Paul having more energy to expend on the defensive end.  Pierce has been unfairly criticized as a bad defender throughout his career.  Though, to be fair, many of those experts also picked the Lakers in 5.  Paul has always been a solid defender… but he’s always had to do so many other things.  This year, we saw what he could do when he wasn’t asked to create his own shot for 42 minutes a game.  But he could still create his own shot if he needed to.

Let’s all be clear about something here:  If Paul Pierce didn’t engage in that shootout with LeBron James, the Celtics would not be NBA champions.  I’m not talking about the fact that the Celtics won that game.  I’m talking about the mere fact that Paul Pierce… in the biggest game of his career… with the weight of the city, the franchise’s history, and the legacies of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett all on his shoulders… decided to meet LeBron at high noon for a 1-on-1, winner-take-all duel.  There was no deferring this time.  There were no possessions off.  There was no conserving himself on defense.  This was Paul Pierce answering the best player in the world’s challenge.  The winning of that game was almost secondary.

It’s not an accident that the Celtics closed out the next two series, against vastly better teams, in 6 games rather than 7.  It happened because Pierce’s battle with LeBron reestablished the Celtics as his team.  He was option number 1.  After an 82 game season and 20 playoff games, the #1 option had finally been settled.  KG and Ray could back off and take turns as option #2.  When Paul Pierce dove to secure that loose ball of the tip against the Cavs, he might has well have been diving over the wall that separated him from the rest of the NBA megastars.  THAT was his first step towards winning Finals MVP.  And it might have been the moment his got his toe into the door of the Hall of Fame.

I truly believe that now, with his numbers, a ring, and a Finals MVP to his credit, Paul Pierce will be giving a speech in Springfield.  His number 34 will be raised to the rafters.  And you’ll be telling your kids stories some day about Paul Pierce… like some of your fathers told you about John Havlicek.  I’ve said it a million times already, and I’ll say it a million more.  I’m happiest for Paul Pierce right now.  He is a rare talent that might finally be appreciated by more than just us hardcore Celtics fans.  But whether that happens or not, Paul, we appreciate the job you’ve done in helping us achieve the ultimate goal… an NBA title.

Our Newest Wallpaper

Our Newest Wallpaper

As I said at the top, there are two more ‘appreciations’ coming… so look for those tomorrow and Monday.  That photo up top came from our new wallpaper (thumbnail, left). 

Here’s the 1600×1200 version.

1024×768

and 800×600

We’re working on more… so stay tuned for those too

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10 Responses

  1. That post gave me chills. Congratulations Paul.

  2. Ive been reading this blog for a while but havent posted much. Part of it was jinxing this year (yes Im very supersticious). Anyways, Ive been a celtic fan from Panama since 92 (I am now 23)), I never saw the glory years (thanks to dvd ive relived them), and i saw some horrible seasons. My first favorite players were Reggie Lewis (Mostly because of NBA Showdown) and Dee Brown (bc of the DUnks). I saw the 1995 playoffs via headline news scroller because we had horrible NBA coverage in Panama. I followed intensly the Todd Day, Dana Barros, Sherman Douglas, Dino Radja and Eric Montross days. Then when Twoine became an All Star in the Late 90s I thought he was the man and we would finally get i the playoffs, yep just I waz just a kid hoping. Enter Paul Pierce. The 2001 season was just a thrill to watch with him and Walker trying to get the 8th seed (even though it didnt happen). 2002 was my favorite celtic yr trash talking everyone about how PP was the best player in the NBA, the Playoffs were amazing with “the comeback” capping it off.
    I have always been a Paul Pierce guy bc for me he was the first true celtic superstar since Reggie Lewis, I looked the other way in the Tinsley incident, hated Danny Ainge for looking to trade him (amazing that like 4 yrs ago there was an alleged PP for Ray Allen offer on the table).

    Ive defende PP in several discussions through out the years saying he was clutch (the 02 Game 4 of the ECF free thorws were always thrown to my face), he was a great penetrator and an awesome shooter, that said I thought it was time to let him go after the 07 lottery, not because he wasnt good, but bc I thought we should start from scratch with Big Al. Ive never been happier about being wrong, PP showed he can carry this team when needed, his jump ball vs Lebron, Game 6 of the ECF and the Finals, those were I TOLD YOU SO moments. Hes amazing defense this yr, hes playmaking, and that jumpshot which was shot horizontaly a couple of times in the Poffs, made the world see what we knew Pierce is THE MAN.
    His hug with Doc after the ECFs, the gatorade bath, the 4th quarter bench party in game 6 made me choke up big time. I love all the celtics, but my favorite is Paul Pierce and thank God he is still a Celtic.
    Im still getting congratulations when I see friends I havent seen for a while, championship gear just got here, Im on Cloud 9, and I thank everyone from Wyc to Pollard for making this happen. But I may be the happiest that Paul Pierce was there for it all and we won because of him.

    THANK YOU CAPTAIN

    sorry about the long rant and bad english, but I had to posymy thoughts.

  3. Thanks guys!

    alvaro… no need to apologize. What you said was perfect… and your English is world’s better than Chuck’s

  4. Pierce is with Lamar Odom my fav player, besides I have his jersey hanging on my wall for more than 6 years, I’m happy he finally got this ring, I mean he just deserves it!

  5. yo watch this for you Celtic fans. My friend send me yes and I hate him too for him bragging that the celtics beat the lakers

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmsxs1_KXYw&fmt=18

  6. I’m so happy that Truth will finally get recognition nationally as a top 10 player in this league. For years I’ve asserted as much only to be told how the C’s suck. That’s been no fault of Paul’s.

    Now we see just what he’s capable of when surrounded by a great team and system. Congrats my Man!

  7. Not on this site Ajay. There aren’t any Chris Tuckers here.

  8. Congrats to Paul Pierce’s MVP and championship, he deserves this, and I’m so happy for him.

  9. So happy for Pauly, he’s never gotten the props he deserves from the analysts, so when he stepped up and shut them up in the playoffs it made it that much sweeter. Great photo-shopping Redsarmy, you guys should sell that as a poster.

  10. […] to finally acknowledge that Paul Pierce has entered the pantheon of all-time Celtics was back THEN (like we did in July), not October 31, like Dan […]

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