This past season, longtime Celtics forward, Paul Pierce, retired from the NBA after spending 19 seasons in the league. Paul spent the first 15 seasons of his career with the Boston Celtics after being drafted by the franchise in the 1998 NBA Draft.
Pierce helped bring back winning to a Celtics organization that had at the time struggled for many seasons after the retirement of Hall of Famer, Larry Bird, in 1992.
During the 2007-08 season, Pierce was joined by future Hall of Famers, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, to help bring the Celtics their first NBA title in 22 years.
Pierce stepped up as the go-to-guy, as he’s done plenty of times in his career, against the MVP that season Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. In a very competitive series, Pierce helped lead the Celtics to win their 17th NBA title in six games.
However, Paul was traded during the 2013 season to the Brooklyn Nets. After a short stint there, he moved on to play for the Wizards for one season and ultimately finished his career under his Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles with the Clippers.
Pierce’s retirement at the end of the season did not receive the attention expected for a player of his caliber. Then again, he was not playing for the beloved franchise that he spent 15 years of his career with at the time.
According to ESPN on Monday afternoon, the Celtics have signed Paul to a one-day contract to allow Pierce to officially retire from the NBA with his former team.
Co-owner of the Celtics, Wyc Grousbeck, spoke out on the matter regarding Pierce’s retirement deal.
“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics — a champion on and off the court. We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”
Paul will officially leave the game with averages of 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Pierce also walks away with one “Finals MVP” award and 10 all-star game selections.
Pierce has competed in many playoff battles as a member of the Celtics. One of his most memorable performances with the franchise was during his first season of leading them to the playoffs.
In the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals against the then New Jersey Nets, Paul led his team to the greatest 4th quarter comeback in NBA playoff history. The team erased a 21-point deficit to win Game 3 of the best of seven series.
Now, this season Pierce should likely get the proper farewell from the game that he did not receive as the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs this past season. Only this time, he will rightfully be doing it for the team where he achieved most of his career accolades.
[Featured Image by Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images]