Former Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce earned the unique honor as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It cemented his place in league history as one of the game’s all-time greats. All that led Pierce to use his Hall of Fame speech to channel his best Michael Jordan impression.
Paul Pierce earns Hall of Fame induction
Pierce quickly became one of the league’s best young talents behind his tremendous scoring prowess.
The Kansas product led the Celtics to become a playoff constant behind his strong individual play. However, things took off before the 2007-08 season after acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The star-studded trio anchored Boston’s push to win the 2008 NBA title, where Pierce won the Finals MVP award.
Pierce spent his first 15 seasons in Boston, earning 10 ALl-Star selections and four All-NBA Team nods. He sits alongside fellow Hall of Famers Larry Bird and John Havlicek as the only player in Celtics’ history to score 20,000 career points. He’s only the fifth player in league history to 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists with a single franchise that helped him get his No. 34 jersey retired.
Pierce spent the last four NBA seasons split between the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and LA Clippers. All that guided him toward a Hall of Fame induction where he channeled his best Michael Jordan impression.
Paul Pierce channeled his best Michael Jordan impersonation during his Hall of Fame speech
The first-ballot Hall of Famer made the most of the experience to express his appreciation and gratitude for the special honor.
Pierce took the time to acknowledge all the motivating factors that led him to put together an illustrious NBA career that earned him his enshrinement. The 43-year-old also used the elevated stage to channel his best Michael Jordan-type pettiness by thanking all nine teams that passed on him in the 1998 NBA Draft.
“Coming out of college, I was a first-team All-American, and projected number 2 pick,” Pierce said. “So, I’d like to thank the Clippers, Vancouver Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, and Milwaukee Bucks. The nine teams that passed on me. I appreciate that. Thank you for passing on me and adding fuel to my fire.”
Although Pierce’s remarks weren’t as harsh as Jordan’s, it’s quite evident that he used it as a motivating internal chip to push his way forward. After a strong three-year collegiate career, the Kansas product entered the 1998 NBA Draft as one of the top prospects. He earned both a consensus First-Team All-American nod and First-Team All-Big 12 selection in 1998.
The nine teams that passed taking him, opening the door for the Celtics, where he put together a historic career. Pierce became the franchise cornerstone behind his steady play that anchored the team for 15 seasons.
Although he would have loved to have been the first overall pick, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Celtics’ legacy forever cemented
Over the last few years, Pierce has received plenty of slack regarding his place in NBA history, but he accomplished more than enough to garner a Hall of Fame induction.
His 15-year tenure with the Celtics featured him becoming the face of the franchise, while his legacy took another step forward with the team’s strong five-year stretch as part of their Big 3. Boston secured five straight Atlantic division titles and an NBA title in two Finals appearances.
Ultimately, the consistent success forever cemented his place in Celtics’ history as an all-time franchise great.