Saturday, 31 March 2012
PAUL PIERCE-CELTIC PRIDE
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
On a terrible and almost tragic day in September 2000, Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck and back at the Buzz Club in Boston's Theatre district, 11 and a bit years later the man who suffered a near-fatal attack is still here and still strong, showing Boston and the NBA that he is here to stay. On that night of the 25th, Paul's then teammate Tony Battie and his brother rushed him to a hospital and thanks to they and the doctors on that night Paul Pierce's precious young life was saved.
After lung surgery and the horrific attack that nobody should ever have to endure, especially not someone trying to keep the peace the then 23 year old rebounded by starting every game of the 2000/2001 regular season. This incredible, influential recovery inspired everyone in the league, even the then greatest Shaquille O'Neal had to give it up to the newly nicknamed 'The Truth'. Now at 34 and still playing like a young man, you can still believe in number 34 and the pride of the Celtics and that's no lie. P-Double still draws double teams and commands the attention of everybody and anybody on both sides of the basketball court.
It doesn't matter if there names are Kobe, LeBron or Kevin Durant, people still fear and more importantly respect this true warrior. Statistically speaking Paul is averaging a genuinely great 18.9 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists and career highs in field goal (.497) and free throw (.860) percentages and that's while sharing the parquet with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, of course Rajon Rondo and a squad full of big time contributors like Pietrues, Daniels, Dooling and Jermaine O'Neal. Just when critics thought that Pierce and his storied Celtics where too old or about to lose face or the future face in Rajon Rondo.
After the All-Star break and trade deadline, this band of Hall Of Famers stuck together and have stuck it out for first place in the Atlantic and fourth place in the East, firmly in a playoff spot and still with a stronghold on contention. You see from Garnett's muscle and passion, to Ray Allen's purity with the moneyball, the Celtics have it all served on a dish by point proven Rajon Rondo. Just like their underrated bench with their legendary coach Doc Rivers sitting at the end you can't underestimate this history certified franchise.
From the past to the present this team have shown the future how to do it and just like Bob Cousy, John Havliceck, Larry Bird and the ringmaster Bill Russell, Paul Pierce is one of the greatest Celtics of all time and currently one of the best team players and overall contributors on the New England roster. You know this banner making, rafter worthy Celt will have his jeresy retired. Still the Paul Pierce era isn't over yet. With his offence and defence, inside and out and selfless, but box score satisfying statistical outputs, Paul Pierce is the complete teammate and player. Contributing big time and getting everyone involved too, whether it be to his teammates fortune or his opponents frustration.
From clutch buckets to the Knicks know so well to big plays across the playbook, the truth is a dream strategy for his coach and a dry erase scribbled nightmare for his opposition. From waking up the fans to rewriting the history books this Celtic of past and present is a legend. Whether it be coming back from what seemed like a wheelchair ending injury to lead his beloved Celtic nation over the storied Los Angeles Laker rivals in the 2008 finals to being the best recruiter in the National Basketball Association recruiting Garnett and Allen for his own big three years before Lebron, Wade and Bosh took off in South Beach, Pierce's legacy will be one of influence and inspiration that will last for century's.
When the next great Celtic comes along over the decades people will ask if he's better than Bird or Pierce. Paul's name simply belongs in that company, no matter how good the other Celtic and NBA greats are. Pierce is that good too. He would have made Red Auerbach's cigar drop out of his mouth with some of the things he's done. Danny Ainge knows just how much Paul has done to write the latest legacy chapter of classic Celtic championship years. Overcoming the fatal tragedy of former top draft pick and then future of the Celtics Len Bias to overcoming his own near fatal tragedy Paul Pierce has shown the resolve, strength and passion synomonous with these blue collar, no complaining, down to business proud Celtic greens. He's given this town more than hope. He's shown it promise. You can't break this guy, even with a few good men you can't handle the truth.