Not exactly Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball,” but another Los Angeles hardwood legend announced his retirement at The Players’ Tribune on Monday.
“After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time,” Paul Pierce explains at the website. “So I’m going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I’m going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.”
Pierce, who starred on the Inglewood High basketball team years before winning his only NBA championship by defeating his hometown Los Angeles Lakers while capturing a Finals MVP for their rivals, played for fifteen seasons on the Boston Celtics before competing for the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and, in his final stop in a lengthy NBA career, the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 10-time All-Star boasts career averages of 20 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. But the Hall of Fame career almost came to a halt shortly after it began. Before his third season, a thug stabbed Pierce 11 times and smashed a bottle over his head as the mild-mannered forward attempted to make peace during a late-night club conflict. Ironically, no Celtic save “The Truth” played all 82 games during the 2000-2001 season.
Pierce foresees an opportunity to retire on top. “With the Clippers, in the city where I grew up, I feel like I have that opportunity on a great team,” he writes. “We’re hungry. We want to win a championship.”
That quest to win the Clippers their first championship begins in Portland on October 27 when L.A.’s second NBA franchise takes on the Trail Blazers.