34 Among Legends

Joe Mondor, Sportswriter

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  It took 15 seasons, 26,395 points, 35,714 minutes played, an NBA Championship, finals MVP, 10 all-star nods, and 11 stab wounds for Paul Pierce’s number 34 to be hung in the rafters along with the other Celtic greats.

“The Truth” as many people called him; Paul Pierce defined the organization and will forever be known as one of the greatest Celtics of all time.  Drafted in 1998, Pierce slid down the draft board until the Celtics took him with the 10th pick.  His rookie season, Pierce emerged as a star and helped the Celtics come back onto the map after multiple losing seasons.  As his career progressed, he earned the nickname “Truth” from Lakers big man Shaquille O’ Neal.  Soon after, he became the captain of the Boston Celtics

Pierce, (#34) guards Oklahoma City’s forward Kevin Durant (35)

For 10 years, Pierce would remain the captain of the Celtics as he remained the only true all-star on the Celtics at that time. However, Pierce continued to stay loyal to the team that drafted him and he was rewarded in the summer of 2007 when the Minnesota Timberwolves traded 10 time all-star Kevin Garnett to the Celtics in exchange for five players including: Al Jefferson, a draft pick and cash considerations.  Along with Garnett, the Celtics also received Ray Allen from the Supersonics and formed a big three. They went on to beat their arch rival in the NBA finals the Los Angeles Lakers and claim the franchises’ 17th championship.

Pierce was more than just a basketball player in the eyes of many due to the amount of work he did in the streets of Boston during his time as a Celtic. Pierce founded “The Truth Fund” to help get education to young people who may not be able to get it otherwise. Along with his foundation, Pierce was recognized for his actions league wide and performed in a school play every year for kids who made perfect attendance at the end of the year.  Down the later years of Pierce’s career, it was clear that he and the Celtics were heading different ways as the Celtics started to build for the future. He and Garnett were eventually traded to the Brooklyn Nets however most people remember him for what he did in Boston.

Paul Pierce embodied what it meant to be a Celtic and what it means to play in Boston. His hard work and dedication to the city got his number 34 hung up with the other Celtic legends ensuring that no player will ever wear the number 34 for the Celtics again. 

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