WATCH: Two best moments from Paul Pierce’s great HOF speech originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Paul Pierce wasn’t the most naturally gifted player. But after the Celtics selected him 10th overall in the 1998 NBA Draft, he arrived in Boston with a relentless drive that would propel him to greatness.
Pierce officially was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, and in a moment fitting for the type of player Pierce was, he used part of his speech to send a message to the nine teams that passed on him in 1998.
Pierce named all nine teams in order off the top of his head, much to the delight of the pro-Celtics crowd in Springfield, Mass.
“Thank you for passing on me and adding fuel to my fire,” Pierce added. “I appreciate that. … To this day I still don’t understand how I slipped to No. 10 … but everything happens for a reason. Going to the Celtics, I’m grateful.”
Pierce obviously validated Boston’s decision, making 10 All-Star teams and helping the Celtics win a championship in 2008 en route to becoming one of the best players in franchise history.
Pierce’s call-out of nearly two-thirds of the league wasn’t the only highlight from his speech Saturday night. The Truth also shared a great story involving Doc Rivers, Boston’s coach of that 2008 title team who was in the crowd in Springfield.
Pierce recalled the moment he knew Rivers was a “players’ coach:” when Rivers recognized that Pierce was hungover during a morning shootaround and told him to “go home and be ready for tonight(‘s game)” instead of chewing him out.
Apparently that was wise advice; Pierce said he put up 30 points that night in a Celtics win.
Pierce was a beloved figure in Boston who overcame trade rumors, a harrowing stabbing incident and his own doubts to help lead the Celtics back to relevance. That motivation to succeed was reflected in Saturday’s speech, which you can watch in full below.
Source: Yahoo Sports