Paul Pierce explains why he was initially hesitant about playing in Boston

Go down

Paul Pierce explains why he was initially hesitant about playing in Boston

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:33 pm

Paul Pierce explains why he was initially hesitant about playing in Boston

"I never went to Boston, never worked out for them."

Boston, MA 10/26/10: The Celtics Paul Pierce drives on Miami's LeBron James in the first quarter. The Boston Celtics take on the Miami Heat in the NBA season opener at the TD Garden.    (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)–Jim Davis/Boston Globe

By Gary Dzen  11:27 AM

Paul Pierce played his last NBA game on June 30, for his hometown Los Angeles Clippers.

Pierce’s NBA career spanned 19 seasons, 15 of which were spent playing across the country in Boston. He retires as the 15th-leading scorer in league history. The Celtics have already said they will retire his number. recently caught up with Pierce to discuss his early Celtics days, his broadcasting career, and what he plans to do now that he’s not playing basketball for a living.

BDC: When did you first become aware of the Boston Celtics?

Paul Pierce: Every kid who just played basketball knew about the Boston Celtics. They’re one of the few teams who were always on national TV along with the Lakers. I grew up a Laker fan, whenever you talked about Lakers and championships, you always talked Boston. My first memory had to come at the age of like 5 or 6 when I first started playing basketball. It just grew on me. I originally was more into baseball and football, but being in Los Angeles, you just couldn’t help but to fall in love with the game of basketball, because they had such a winning tradition. When Magic got there it seemed like they were parading every other year. And then the rivalry, it seemed like Boston wins one year, the Lakers win another year. It was just great for basketball. That’s the rivalry that really got me into the sport.

BDC: What was your first reaction when the Celtics picked you?

PP:  I think I was just in shock. At the time I was projected as top-five pick. I never went to Boston, never worked out for them. I remember talking to my good friend Chauncey Billups at the time when he was playing for Boston and I was still in college. I would ask him stories about the NBA, and he kind of like scared me how training camp was going with Rick Pitino. When they picked me I was like, ‘What?” I really couldn’t believe it, because it came out of nowhere. I wasn’t projected at all to fall that far. Only thing I could think of was, team I hated growing up, and Rick Pitino is down there killing everybody in practice. It was mixed feelings, but at the same time it was like, I’m happy to be drafted in the NBA.

BDC: When did you first feel accepted by Celtics fans?

PP: Exhibition season, I was able to go out there and have a good game. The fans, they knew about me, but they didn’t know how I could fit with the team and what I can bring. After our first exhibition game, I believe it was like the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, we played there, and when I came back there was a really good article on me on how I could be a great contributor to this ballclub. These are tough fans, they know their sports. They know if you’re giving 100 percent. But I just think after the exhibition season, they saw what I can do, I was playing really well. I just thought that was a good little tuneup, but I stayed ready. It was a lockout year. A lot of people were anticipating what Paul Pierce brings to the team. And then I got off to such a hot start my rookie year, they just rolled with me from the start.

BDC: What’s life like as a broadcaster?

PP: I’m definitely enjoying the analyst work that I’ve been doing with ESPN and ABC over the last few weeks. I definitely have an interest in doing that now that I’m retired and not gonna play anymore. Talking about the game still allows me to be a part of the game, be around the scenery and the arenas. I’ve been doing it for so long, but I always said I wanted to do something and remain a part of the game and this has just given me that.

BDC: Do you watch the game any differently as a broadcaster than you did as a player?

PP: No I really don’t man, because I’ve always been a guy who studied the tapes and the scouting reports. And now I get to talk about it, and kind of like break it down so people can understand it. If somebody who never watched a basketball game actually watched one, I feel like I can really break it down to where you can really understand what’s going on out there. It’s stuff I feel like I’ve been doing my whole life.

BDC: How did you feel as a player when a broadcaster or reporter was being critical of you?

PP: I used it as fuel. I mean, you can’t listen to every little thing that’s bad or good said about you. I always used that, whenever I heard it ,I used it as fuel to motivate me, man. That’s how I was raised, whenever I came up. If they’re not talking about you you’re not doing something, you’re not doing anything. So if they’re talking about you you may be doing something right. And when they talk bad about you you just use it for motivation.

BDC: How would you compare your broadcasting style to Tommy Heinsohn’s?

PP: Myself to Tommy? Oh I’ve got a long way to go before I’m at Tommy Heinsohn’s level. He’s one of the all-time greats. You always can learn something from someone who’s been in that game for so long. Tommy’s been doing this probably longer than I’ve been alive, man. I like listening to him hearing his perspective. He has his own style. You can’t duplicate that. You just gotta listen to his knowledge of the game, get his perspective, and learn from it.

BDC: Are there other jobs in basketball you’d eventually like to have?

PP:  I’m not sure right now. I know I don’t want to get into coaching right now. I just think just me finishing and jumping back into coaching would be too much of a grind with the travel schedule. Maybe upper management one day. Right now I’m enjoying a lot of the TV stuff. I have a chance to spend time with my family and catch up for the lost time.

BDC: Do you think you’re going to miss playing?

PP:  It hasn’t really hit me yet, because this time of the year it’s Finals and you take a break anyway. I think it’s gonna really hit me in the coming months, say like September, October, when you’re used to getting up, working out. Now you’re not going to practice, and it’s gonna be me spending a lot of time with my family. It’s a new chapter, it’s a new phase in my life, and I get to experience other things, I get to focus on other things I’m passionate about off the court. Spend more time with my family, golf, cook food, have great family dinners.

I’ve been working on some different recipes. I have a family recipe that I’ve had for a long time, and my kids love it. (Pierce shares his pasta recipe here.

They think I cook better than my wife when I make my pasta. This is the kind of stuff I’m gonna be able to do when I retire. Bowling is another one of my passions that I love to spend time with my kids. That’s what I’m going to enjoy the most, stuff that normal people have time to do with their families.

BDC: Your recent analysis that Kevin Durant is a better player than LeBron James right now got a lot of attention. Do you have to be more measured with your words as a broadcaster than you did as a player?

PP: What I’m seeing right now, I think we’re seeing a changing of the guard. Everybody thinks it’s far-fetched, but I just don’t see this Warriors team barring any injuries losing to this Cavs team as constructed right now. And so that’s my reasoning for saying this could be the Kevin Durant era. Because unless LeBron gets more help, and he’s getting older, you’re gonna see [Durant] possibly win three or four championships if his team stays together. Because I don’t see nobody else closing the gap. And that’s why I’m just kind of trying to see the future. And I’m like who can be in his way, other than LeBron. I think this is the start of KD’s time.

BDC: You were an LA kid who went to Boston. What did you think when LaVar Ball came out and said he didn’t want his son to play for the Celtics?

PP: He’s just stuck in his roots. If you have an opportunity to be drafted by the Lakers as an LA kid, like myself, if I had an opportunity to get drafted by the Lakers, I was like man, that was like a dream come true. I mean think about it. Any ballplayer you grow up in that city, your dream is to play for the local home team. That’s normal. He doesn’t have anything against Boston. As a kid he watched Kobe Bryant win championships. As a kid I watched Magic Johnson win championships. I was like man, I grew up here, I wanna be in the NBA, I wanna be a Los Angeles Laker. That’s just every kid’s dream who has a chance to go to the NBA is to go to his local home team. And then you talk about a team that’s got loads of tradition. That’s something you can expect for sure.



Posts : 37635
Join date : 2009-10-28

Back to top Go down

Back to top

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum