By now, you’ve read countless stories on the return of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. But I’m here to encourage you to read one more. In a column written by the great Adrian Wojnarowski, we learn about Pierce’s endless generosity:
As he walked into the locker room, Pierce discovered a familiar face ashen and shaken, slumping on a stool in a stunned silence.
Pierce walked over and asked Jamie Young: “What’s wrong, man?”
For seven years Young had worked for the Celtics as a video coordinator until he was promoted to the endless road life of an advance scout. And now in this moment of organizational euphoria, he tried to make sense of the telephone call that had come hours earlier: Without warning, his 56-year-old father died of a heart attack in the small Indiana town where he had raised Young.
“I’m going to pay for his funeral,” Pierce told Young. “I’m going to pay for everything.”
And Pierce did, the way he quietly had always been so generous with staff members who worked the longest hours and made the most modest of salaries. So here was Young, an assistant coach on Brad Stevens’ staff, standing and cheering Pierce in the middle of the Garden on Sunday night. This was a night when everyone came to deliver Pierce and Garnett the gratitude for hanging that championship banner in 2008, for making the Celtics matter again, making the Celtics the Celtics again.
Within the organization, Pierce’s generosity was legendary. He fought for the lowest of assistants and basketball staff to get playoff bonuses, and he used to give the team’s traveling party $1,000 each to spend on the annual trip to the Nike employee store outside of Portland. Inside and outside the organization, Pierce was generous with commitments of time and resources, relentlessly championing children’s causes and charities.
Great stuff. It’s refreshing to hear positive stories about former players. When the last legend left town, we heard nothing but tales of selfish, phony, and whiny behavior. The Truth is a class act, on and off camera.
And… Mike Gorman shared this story during a morning interview on Toucher and Rich:
“Paul took his job as the captain of the Celtics very seriously. Very seriously. I’ll never forget one night right after he had been appointed captain he got on the plane with a Barnes & Noble bag, and it looked pretty heavy. That’s not something I’ve seen in my years covering basketball, players carrying around heavy Barnes & Noble bags. Pierce was sitting alone in this compartment by himself and spread out in front of him were a half dozen books on leadership. That was Paul.”
Master of the step back jumper and avid reader.