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Red's Army

Paul Pierce: The career, and ending, that was never supposed to be

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) July 1, 2013 Celtics News, Paul Pierce 24 Comments

pierce boston

It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

But life doesn’t give a damn about “supposed to.”

“Supposed to” is a subjective concept, created to satisfy our own instinctual desire for a clear line of demarcation between right and wrong. “Supposed to” is a manufactured reward for ourselves as we march down the path our dreams have weaved.

“Supposed to” is, frankly, quite often a myth.

The Larry Bird era wasn’t supposed to end with him in a crumpled heap on his living room floor, unable to move after games. The post-Bird era wasn’t supposed to be riddled with death and drugs.

Hollywood endings are scripted for a select few. And Paul Pierce wasn’t one of them.

Let’s be honest, though. Paul Pierce was never supposed to be here at all. Mr. Inglewood grew up dreaming of Purple and Gold. He listened to Chick Hearn, not Johnny Most. He snuck into the Forum, not the Garden. He dreamed of passing palm trees, not snow plows, on his way to games.

paul pierce backBut there he was, in a draft where he was supposed to go higher than 10th, watching player after player go ahead of him. Michael Olowokandi. Mike Bibby. Robert Traylor. Jason Williams. Larry Hughes. By the time the 10th pick came around, he was staring at being selected by the one team he wasn’t supposed to play for.

He came to Boston and played basketball like a professional would. He made the All-Rookie team. He made All-NBA Teams. He made a bunch of All Star teams. He played on teams that were supposed to go further than they did, and on some that went further than they were supposed to.

Somewhere in the middle, he was supposed to be traded. Somehow, he wasn’t. Even after butting heads with his new coach, Doc Rivers. Even after he idiotically wrapped gauze around his face to highlight what he thought was a call he was supposed to get.

We make up all of our “supposed to’s” for our own reasons. Step back from those and you’ll see that the true story of Pierce’s time in Boston is a true story of the same reality that faces all of us.

We want our sports heroes to be perfect. We want them to be model citizens. We want them to play at a quadrillion percent every day, on every play. We want them to take pay cuts to stay in town. We want them to sign every autograph, take every picture, kiss every baby, respond to every tweet… basically do everything we think they are supposed to do.

But that’s not reality.

Reality is that our own grand plans in life are constantly being reworked because of unforeseen obstacles and detours. Reality is that a lot of us aren’t where we thought we were going to be.

Wherever you are right now, chances are quite good that this wasn’t part of your plan.

And it wasn’t part of Paul Pierce’s, either.

pierce mvp trophyHe went to the wrong team, in the wrong city. Hell, he nearly got killed here. He played with the wrong teammates and the wrong coaches. He said and did some of the wrong things.

But he did the one thing we ARE all supposed to do in situations like this. He adjusted his perspective. He embraced his new reality. He took all these things that were supposedly so “wrong” in his life, and turned it into something very, very right.

A championship.  Finals MVP.  Vindication.

Ten years ago, the trading of Paul Pierce wouldn’t have solicited the anguished outcry of a fan-base that lost it’s hero of a generation. Seven years ago, most of our retrospectives on his career would have included some level of acknowledgement that a change of scenery would be beneficial.

Not today.

Today there is an irrational pain attached to the departure of the captain. He’s simply going to play basketball for a very large sum of money in a different area code, but we are still in a form of mourning.

No, it’s not the ending we all had in mind. This wasn’t how the script was supposed to be written. This isn’t how it was all supposed to go.

But this is what life is all about. When things don’t go the way they’re suppose to, we’re supposed to roll with it. Sure, we’ll make mistakes along the way, but if we learn from those, we’ll grow. Some day, we might have to make some sacrifices, but it will be ok, because we know they’ll be worth it. And finally, with our heads clear and a confidence that life’s lessons will carry us through the rough patches, we’ll get to where we need to be.

That, to me, is the story of Paul Pierce in Boston. Beyond the elbow jumpers that will forever be etched in our brains. Beyond the clutch buzzer beaters. Beyond beautifully choreographed footwork that managed to get him from point A to point B in ways that we still can’t comprehend; this is what his story is.

It is the story of a man who wasn’t supposed to be here, at least not this long. It’s about an L.A. kid becoming the purely Boston embodiment of hard work and, ultimately, the sweet vindication of that effort. It’s about a man who learned hard lessons along the way, and, in the end, became the one thing he was always supposed to be.

A Boston Celtics legend.

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  • Âdil K

    The Truth will ALWAYS be a CELTIC

  • Adam Stark

    I haven’t read this artical, and I won’t. It is way to sad to think that ‘number 34-the captin and the truth, Paul pierce’ will never sound in the garden again. In my opinion the greatest Celtic of all time.

    • LA Flake

      Baffled at whoever downvoted you. Maybe not the greatest Celtic but certainly the greatest of this generation. I LOVE YOU, CAPTAIN! PP is a Celtic FOREVER.

    • http://www.kevinhughesdesign.net Kevin Hughes

      Greatest every? Really? What about Bird? What about Russel?

      greatest of this generation, sure.. but ever?

  • Curt Hays

    Fantastic, John. Just fantastic. I hope Paul reads it.

  • pierce Hart

    I shed a tear.

  • Lee in Oregon

    Paul will always be one of my all-time favorite C’s. Wyc always said PP would retire a Celtic……not sure if he remembers it now but he said it. I hope he finished his career with a bang, but it’s gonna be hard for me to cheer for the Nets with Jason Kidd at the helm, I can’t stand that guy….

    Actually a bit bitter about this whole thing and I’m hoping things work out badly for Doc Rivers down in LA……

    • LA Flake

      I hope the Nets win it all next year. KG and especially Paul deserve at least another ring.

    • forever_green

      Wyc has said Paul would retire a Celtic on more than one occasion…what a Liar.

      • ShawnCVD

        I get what ur saying but I can see PP coming back next year …

  • RedsLoveChild

    Somebody raised Paul Pierce right!

    It`s late 2000…PP is recovering from 11 stab wounds…playing for a horrible team, one he`s hated since childhood…playing for an A-hole of a coach…3,000 miles from home…his beloved Lakers are world champions, with no end in sight of their dynasty.

    99.99% would`ve rightfully demanded a trade out of this nightmare…yet, he never did.

    • eddysamson

      You forgot to mention he only had a month of recovery time between his stabbing and the season opener and he still played that ENTIRE season. Didn’t miss a game. INSANE!

  • Brick James

    You speak the Truth, John. Nice writeup.

  • Dustin Chapman

    CELTICS! Hoorah! CELTICS! Hoorah! CELTICS! Hoorah! 1, 2, 3 UBUNTU!

  • forever_green

    Paul has meant more to me than words could say, I have always had an attachment to Paul & I will continue to support him wherever he go’s.

    I hate you DA!

    • Rolltide3332

      The Celtics are bigger than one man. I hate the fact that the truth will be in another jersey next year, but Danny had to do what was best for the team. We will be back on top again.

  • jqt

    When Paul and KG make shots in the garden, the announcer better announce it like there still on the Celtics.

  • Caterpillar from Italy

    Yeah, we’re talking about Datome, Smith or FA..
    But we still havent’realized that KG is no longer here and, above all, The Truth is no longer here. What a shock.

  • Romeo

    Reading this brings pains. I still hope he will resign for vet min after this season and retired a Celtic.

  • Sarah

    This choked me up a bit! It’s so hard for me to comprehend all of this. I will miss all 3 of them so much… But especially Paul.

  • Tim (Fire Doc)

    Fantastic article

  • Duncan1

    Simply put theTruth! I wonder if Pop is thinking about trading Duncan or Dallas Nowitzki??? hmmmmmmm Seems PP should retire a Celtic. Oh I forgot, DA got 30 pieces of silver for him

  • Tito from Spain

    I’m a celtic fan since my childhood and until last week I always had belived that the Celtics was one of the biggest clubs in the world not just for the banners but for the feelings and tradition… Well, DA. had made me to doubt about it.

  • Luis Perez

    Feel like someone died for no reason, can’t believe they made that choice, Danny Ainge doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he actually haven’t made a good trade for the Celtics since the Ray Allen trade, after that everything was a flop