Childhood & Early Life
Paul Pierce was born to Lorraine Hosey, a single mother in Oakland, California. He had two half-brothers Jamal and Steve.
Encouraged by his mother, Pierce took to sports at a very young age. He was blessed with an athletic build and excelled in playing basketball.
He attained his education from Inglewood High School where he was a star basketball player. He first ever played an organized game while at the seventh grade. At Inglewood High School, he played JV for the Sentinels in his first year.
Outstanding brilliance at dabbling made him a star player. He scored 12 points in a crucial match for Sentinels, and grabbed seven rebounds thus turning the fate of the match in favour of Sentinels.
He soon gained height and lost weight and became an improved player and was soon promoted to the rank of a co-captain. Within weeks, he started averaging at 24.5 points per game with 11.5 rebounds and four assists
Despite having offers from top basketball programs, he chose to play for Kansas and thus enrolled himself at the University of Kansas for a degree in Crime and Delinquency Studies.
In his three seasons at the college, he averaged 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Furthermore, he earned MVP honors in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. By the end of his junior year, he was included in the first round of 1998 NBA draft by Boston Celtics.
Continue Reading Below
He started off by playing as a shadow of the third year star Antoine Walker. However, with his ability to score and great tactics of the game, he emerged as Walker’s equal.
Together with Walker, he led the Celtics to the playoffs in the 2002, which was the first time for the team after a gap of seven years. He proved to a match winner for the team, tuning the game over from a point where making a comeback seemed impossible. One such game was the Game 3 against New Jersey Nets. Post-season, he became the team’s leading scorer and second best rebounder and passer.
In 2001-02, he rounded the year with 2144 points and third in scoring of the 26.1ppg. Boston Celtics recorded 44 wins in the season but yet again lost to New Jersey Nets in the second round.
2003-04 proved a bad season for the Celtics. Introduction of a new coach Doc Rivers further added to his woes as he did not share a cordial relationship with the former. In accordance with the new policies, new, unpolished players were introduced in the team, making him the only veteran in the group.
Despite the changing players and policies within Celtics, he did not lose on his game and recorded 23.0 ppg in 2003–04 and 21.6 ppg in 2004–05 seasons. He scored a career-high of 26.8 points with seven rebounds and five assists per game.
Rubbishing the rumours of being traded in the 2006 off-season, he instead was signed by the Celtics for a three year contract extension for $59 million.
2005-06 NBA season proved to be his career best till then as he with his highest points-per-shot average became the top 30 scorers in the league. In his fourteen games between February 4 and March 12, he scored 30 points in 13 games, thus making it a stellar season for him and the team in general.
The super successful season was followed by an injury riddled 2006-07. He suffered from stress reaction in his foot that led him to miss a number of matches. Though he managed to put up a great show in the 47 games that he played, the team fared badly losing 24-58 in the season.
The enrolment of veteran basketball players Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett soon turned profitable both for him and the team. He changed his game plan, concentrating more on defense and less on scoring.
Continue Reading Below
Though the Celtics started off the season on a bad note, losing the first four games in the playoffs, the trio struck it well in the fifth game and thereafter, making way for the Celtics to record major victories.
The match against Cleveland Cavaliers turned out to be the most exciting one as he recorded the second-highest point total in franchise history in a game with 41 points. The Celtics won the match by 97-92 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit Pistons. With his panache at the game, he led the team from the front to record 89-81 victory and a trip to the NBA Finals against Los Angeles Lakers.
In the six matches against Los Angeles Lakers, he helped the team secure a win at the first two. Though Boston Celtics lost the third match to their rivals, they bounced back in the fourth match to command a 3-1 lead in the series. Losing the fifth game still made the finals victory for Celtics a dubious affair. However, they bounced back to record 131-92 victory thus winning the 17th championship.
Playing as the defending champions, the Celtics played very well in the 2008-09 season as well. His contribution in the team was remarkable with a 20.5 ppg. He was named to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game and for the first time to the All-NBA Team Second Team. Despite his personal success, the Celtics lost in the second round of the playoffs.
In the 2009-10, his performance slowed down a bit. However, despite missing 11 games, he led the Celtics to 50 wins with career-best 47.2% shooting. His personal scoring average rested at 18.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. In 2010, he became the first Celtic to win the Three-Point Shootout.
In the 2010 playoffs, he played exceptionally well, taking the Celtics to defeat the Cavaliers and Orlando Magic thus advancing to the second Finals appearance in the Big 3 era. They faced Los Angeles Lakers in the final. Though they made a convincing beginning, they lost the deciding game 83-79.
In June 2010, he opted out of his contract but was again convinced to a four-year extension, thus remaining with the Boston Celtics until the 2013-14. Meanwhile in November 2010, he scored his 20, 000th career point on a free throw.
He played his 1000th career game for Celtics in March 2012. He ended the 2011-12 season averaging at 19.4 points with 4.5 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game. Though he averaged 21.2 points per game, in the playoffs, Celtics lost to Miami Heat in the last two games, thus not making it to the NBA finals.
In 2013, he, along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets for future first-round picks in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 drafts. He was felicitated by the Boston Celtics who thanked him in a full-page advertisement for his contribution to the team.
In July 2014, Paul Pierce signed a two-year contract with the Washington Wizards.