Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The coaches and other members of the organization weighed in on the rarity of a player of Pierce’s caliber spending his entire career with one team.
“Well it tells you what the Celtics are,” said Rivers. “When you look at the history of the Celtics, Tommy Heinsohn, a career Celtic, Bill Russell. I mean, it goes on and on. There are a lot of guys that start here and finish here, and I think it really has to do with the tradition of the Celtics.”
Added president of basketball operations Danny Ainge: “I think there’s some players that are special enough, like Paul, in a storied franchise like the Celtics that I think [he] is one of the best five players anyway. Maybe better, but one of the best five players, and maybe the best offensive player in Celtics history.
“And, because he’s done it so consistently, and he’s done it for such a long period of time, his durability is a talent in its own right. Paul plays with a lot of pain and a lot of injuries and he’s overcome a lot, and carried a team when the team wasn’t very good. He’s a special player. It’s been fun being with him.”
On watching Paul Pierce improve over the years: “Before I got here, Paul was a terrific player and a terrific talent, but until you really go to war with a guy and you just go through the battles of the important games and the toughest moments and you see that he rises to the occasion. I mean, I’ll never forget [Pierce] diving on the floor for the loose ball in ’08. That was my favorite play of that entire season when Paul got that jump ball. And, you know, 45 points in Game 7. I mean, that’s just what Paul is made of. You know you’re going to get everything you can out of him and he rebounds, he plays both ends of the court, he takes charges. He’s not just a scorer. He’s a complete player that is a great scorer.”
There are few things that came out of practice yesterday, but you can read about them in the links. This, on a nice, calm Saturday morning before a freak killer storm named Sandy wipes out half the eastern seaboard, is a time to just take a moment to appreciate Paul Pierce.
He was honored last night at the Celtics’ annual Shamrock foundation tip-off gala for the 15 years of charity work he’s done for Boston. Pierce’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle for children through his Truth on Health organization has been amazing. And his overall impact on his franchise and his community has been tremendous.
We keep searching for that perfect athlete, and we’re finding out now with the departure of…. that guy…. that he just doesn’t exist. But Paul Pierce is a perfect example of what we really should be looking for.
Has he been perfect? Hell no. But none of us have either. And the ability to dunk a basketball, hit a step back jumper from the elbow, or cross a guy over in the open court have never, no matter how much we wish they did, given players the ability to be better human beings. What Paul Pierce did was learn from his mistakes, and become a better person and leader for the Celtics.
That, I think, is the best example for kids. Not the guy who always carries himself perfectly, with the perfect knot on his tie, the perfectly pressed suits, and the perfect quip to the media. It’s the guy who makes a mistake and learns from it. Because we’re all going to make mistakes in our lives. And your kids, if you have them, are going to make mistakes too. It’s part of being a human being.
What lesson would you rather teach them? That they are a disappointment because they screwed up and couldn’t live up to that unrealistically perfect role model we continuously try to trot in front of them…. or that they can make these mistakes, and as long as they learn from them and don’t repeat them, they’re going to end up not only being ok, they can still reach amazing levels of success.
I’d rather have the latter. I’d rather tell them Paul Pierce’s full story, from cautionary tale, to frustrated star, to Hall of Famer who finally understood that giving a little of himself to the team could raise everyone to heights they couldn’t have imagined before. Paul Pierce, through it all, has lived up to this franchise’s ideals as well as anyone.
His consistency inherently makes us take him for granted. I, as I write previews and do interviews for other shows, find myself saying “you know what you’re going to get from Paul Pierce” and moving on. It’s just what we all do. He’s a constant, no need to elaborate.
So it’s nice to take a moment after something like the tip-off gala to appreciate what this guy has done, and what he has meant to the city of Boston, the Boston Celtics, and the NBA. All three are better for having had him. And we are all lucky to have seen his story unfold.
He is in the final chapters of that story, though. And it’s important as we start down this adventure that could be a truly magical 2012-13 season that we find moments in these games to just sit back and soak it all in. Let these new moments be burned into your memories as Pierce and the Celtics add to the lore of “Celtics Pride.” Maybe we’ll get to see Pierce standing on a rickety table being held in place by staffers as he hoists a trophy to an adoring Garden crowd one more time. If anyone deserves that moment… it’s Paul Pierce.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Sullinger remains humble amid early success | Celtics officially waive Kurz, Downs | ESPN Boston: Stat check: Pick your pleasure | 3-on-3: something in reserve? | Lee gets crash course on Heat rivalry | Practice report: Terry’s change of heart | WEEI: Jason Terry is learning to love practice | Doc Rivers is sick of talking about Ray Allen | Do the Celtics really have the best bench? | Herald: Sullinger’s got a real body of work | Doc not too hot about Ray talk | Terry meets challenge | Globe: Sullinger just getting started | Celtics focusing on Miami | MWDN: Celtics’ Bass in a battle