Video: Paul Pierce’s No. 34 jersey goes up in TD Garden rafters
Sunday night was Paul Pierce jersey retirement night for the fans in attendance who witnessed the event at the TD Garden. No one will be able to wear jersey number 34 again for the Celtics and they made it official.
The night was an emotional one for Pierce who was selected by the Celtics with the 10th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft after several teams passed up on the surefire Hall of Famer. Throughout his career, he played with a chip on his shoulder because of it, propelling him to become one of the best players in the game.
Ironically, Pierce was selected by the team that he hated the most growing up. He was a Lakers fan, but the team that chose him was its chief rival. That didn’t matter anymore when Pierce played for the Celtics and he showed it with the sacrifices he made to bring another championship to Boston.
The fans embraced him like he was their own.
Pierce was in tears during his retirement speech especially when he started talking about his children.
“I tried as hard as I could. I tried as hard as I could,” Pierce repeatedly said about trying to hold back his tears. “When you start talking about the kids you get emotional.”
No. 34 goes up into the rafters. Congrats, Paul Pierce! pic.twitter.com/6fkXgfVh9Q
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) February 12, 2018
During a dinner prior to his jersey retirement, Pierce took time to honor Red Auerbach, the legendary Celtics coach, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“Before I got here I didn’t realize it,” Pierce said. “You always hear about the Celtics lore, but you didn’t get it if you weren’t in it. Then when you get in it and see guys like Bill Russell come around, and John Havlicek … It’s not about them. It really isn’t. It’s all about being a Celtic. There’s no organization, maybe in sports, that has that type of loyalty, and it started with Red [Auerbach].”
After Pierce’s speech, the time came for his jersey number to be hoisted up into the rafters. He was all smiles for this one.
Later, Pierce grabbed the Larry O’Brien trophy and raised it to the delight of the fans. A “Thank You Paul Pierce” chant followed as the TD Garden crowd did not want the moment to end.