Top 10 Boston Athletes of the Decade: #10 - Paul Pierce
BOSTON – Now that we are in the home stretch of 2019, it means that not only is the year in sports coming to an end, but so is the decade in sports. And what a decade it has been for the Boston sports landscape! To celebrate, I am going to begin this weekly countdown of the top 10 Boston athletes of the decade. Without further ado, the 10th best Boston athlete of the decade: Paul Pierce.
Pierce would definitely rank a lot higher if we were looking back on the decade from 2000 to 2009, but as it is, he absolutely deserves a spot when remembering 2010 to 2019. Granted, in this decade, Pierce only played for the Boston Celtics in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, but those four years were dominated by his presence. He undoubtedly was one of the best Celtics of the decade.
An All-Star in 2010, 2011, and 2012, Pierce also became the champion of the Three-Point Shootout during the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend. After being traded from the Celtics to the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce bounced around the league from the Nets to the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Clippers. His final game in Boston in 2017 was a goosebumps-inducing moment as he nailed one last three-pointer in the TD Garden as a member of the Clippers. Ultimately, Pierce retired in 2017 and his number 34 was promptly retired by the Celtics.
But when he actually played for the Celtics this decade, Pierce regularly led the team in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game during his final four years with the team. He also averaged 19.4 points per game during his final four post-season runs with the Celtics, including a 2010 march to the NBA Finals when the Celtics lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.
But in the tail end of that all-time great Celtics team's run, Pierce was electrifying as always and a team leader, to be sure. He may represent an era not entirely emblematic of the Celtics in the 2010s, but they would not have had the decade they had without him.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Keith Allison