BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, cementing his 15-year Celtics legacy which includes countless accolades, significant milestones, and the 2008 NBA Championship.
“We teamed up with Paul from the beginning of our ownership and grew to be champions together,” said Celtics Co-Owner and Governing Partner Wyc Grousbeck. “He’s a great person and a great Celtic.”
Ten other Celtics players donned the number 34 prior to Pierce getting drafted by the team with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 draft. Now, after witnessing Pierce’s name skyrocket up a majority of the franchise’s historic leaderboards during his time in Boston, the 17-time NBA champions are raising his number among the other Celtics legends and champions.
“I will always be grateful for the sacrifices Paul made to help the Celtics be great,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “His love for the game was contagious and his talents and hard work were legendary. He was one of the greatest players of his era.”
“The moment I was drafted by the Celtics, I knew I was joining one of the most historic organizations in the NBA,” said Pierce. “For 15 years, I played at the Garden, looking up at the jerseys of some of the most iconic players in the game – Russell, Bird, and Cousy. To now be recognized alongside those names is such an honor. I have always said I would be a Celtic for life, and now it is really coming true.”
Pierce’s No. 34 will be ceremoniously lifted to the rafters of TD Garden less than 10 years after he helped raise the Celtics’ 17th championship banner up to the very same ceiling in 2008. Going head-to-head with the rival Los Angeles Lakers in his first career NBA Finals appearance, Pierce followed up a 22-point performance in a Game 1 victory with 28 more points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-4 3-PT) and eight assists in Boston’s Game 2 triumph. His 38 points in Game 5 of those Finals represented his second-highest scoring total in 26 postseason games that year.
Pierce was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player that year, making him the third Celtic to collect MVP honors in his first NBA Finals appearance (JoJo White – 1974, Cedric Maxwell – 1981). He averaged 21.8 points (43.2% FG, 39.3% 3-PT, 83.0% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.08 steals and 38.8 minutes in that six-game series en route to the Celtics’ first championship banner since 1986.
“Paul was a transcendent player, a great leader, and wonderful teammate; simply one of the great Celtics in every way,” said Celtics Co-Owner Steve Pagliuca. “His number in the rafters will forever remind us of the joy he brought to the game of basketball and his love for the fans and the city of Boston.”
While his role in the 2008 NBA Finals will forever be remembered as a key part of his Celtics legacy, it was a performance earlier that postseason that is widely remembered as one of his more iconic moments in green and white. Battling the Cavaliers in a decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Pierce and LeBron James battled head-to-head in a back-and-forth scoring affair that saw both stars score over 40 points. The Celtics captain unloaded for a team-high 41 points (13-23 FG, 4-6 3-PT) to upend Cleveland, 97-92, and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Pierce’s 15 seasons in Boston from 1998-99 to 2012-13 trails only John Havlicek (16) for the most ever spent in a Celtics uniform. He produced 21.8 points (44.7% FG, 37.0% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.44 steals and 36.6 minutes in his achievement-filled 1,102 career games with the franchise.
Earning his iconic nickname “The Truth” during his third NBA season in 2000-01, Pierce tops the franchise lists in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics’ second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points. He currently ranks in the organization’s top 10 lists in games played (3rd – 1 ,102), minutes played (3rd – 40,360), field goals (3rd – 7,882), field goal attempts (2nd – 17,630), three-point field goal attempts (1st – 4,928), free throw attempts (1st – 7,979), offensive rebounds (8th – 1,008), rebounds (7th – 6,651), assists (5th – 4,305), and blocked shots (4th – 668).
Pierce’s No. 34, which was also retired collegiately at the University of Kansas on Jan. 25, 2003, will represent the 22nd retired number in Celtics franchise history. He becomes the first Celtic to have his number retired since Cedric Maxwell’s No. 31 was retired on Dec. 15, 2003.
BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Boston Celtics announced that they have signed 10-time NBA All-Star and 19-year veteran Paul Pierce to a contract, enabling him to retire as a member of the organization with which he spent his first 15 NBA seasons.
“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court,” said Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck. “We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic,” Pierce said. “The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life.”
Drafted by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, Pierce’s 15 seasons in Boston from 1998-99 to 2012-13 trails only John Havlicek (16) for the most ever spent in a Celtics uniform. He produced 21.8 points (44.7% FG, 37.0% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.44 steals and 36.6 minutes in 1,102 career games (1,099 starts) in the green and white.
Pierce’s name will forever be a constant throughout the Celtics’ all-time leaderboards. The California native tops the franchise lists in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics’ second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points.
Earning his iconic nickname “The Truth” during his third NBA season in 2000-01, Pierce also retires in the organization’s top-10 lists in games played (3rd – 1 ,102), minutes played (3rd – 40,360), field goals (3rd – 7,882), field goal attempts (2nd – 17,630), three-point field goal attempts (1st – 4,928), free throw attempts (1st – 7,979), offensive rebounds (8th – 1,008), rebounds (7th – 6,651), assists (5th – 4,305) and blocked shots (4th – 668).
Pierce’s knack for postseason success further cements his legendary status in a Celtics uniform. Boston qualified for the playoffs in 10 of Pierce’s 15 seasons with the team, ranking him seventh on the franchise’s all-time playoff leaderboard with 136 postseason games played. The crafty forward averaged 20.9 points (41.9% FG, 33.9% 3-PT, 83.4% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.32 steals in 39.8 minutes in his Celtics playoff career. Pierce – who owns the fifth most playoff points in franchise history at 2,843 – averaged north of 20.0 points in six separate postseason runs, including a playoff career-high 27.1 points over 10 games in just his second career playoff appearance in 2002-03.
One of Pierce’s greatest postseason accomplishments coincides with the Celtics’ most recent NBA title in 2008. Making his first career NBA Finals appearance, Pierce followed up a 22-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 1 victory with 28 more points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-4 3-PT) and eight assists in Boston’s Game 2 triumph. His 38 points in Game 5 of those Finals represented his second-highest scoring total in 26 postseason games that year. Pierce produced 21.8 points (43.2% FG, 39.3% 3-PT, 83.0% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.08 steals and 38.8 minutes in that six-game series, helping the Celtics raise their NBA-record 17th championship banner and their first since 1986. Named the Most Valuable Player of that 2008 clash, Pierce became the third Celtic ever to earn MVP honors in his first NBA Finals Appearance (Jo Jo White – 1974, Cedric Maxwell – 1981).
Spanning over his 19-year NBA career, Pierce averaged 19.7 points (44.5% FG, 36.8% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.31 steals and 34.2 minutes in 1,343 games (1,285 starts) with Boston, Brooklyn, Washington and the LA Clippers. He ended the 2016-17 season as the only active NBA player with at least 25,000 career points, 7,000 rebounds and 4,500 assists.
BROOKLYN – (Official player bio from NBA) – Jayson Tatum, an early entry candidate from Duke University, was drafted at No. 3 overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Career Highlights: One of five final candidates for the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Julius Erving small forward of the year award as a Duke freshman. … An All-ACC Third Team pick, USBWA All-District III honoree and member of the ACC All-Freshman Team. … Owns three gold medals with USA Basketball. … In high school, selected as the 2016 Gatorade Boys National Player of the Year. Freshman (2016-17): Averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds to rank second in each category on both the team and among ACC freshmen. … Shot 45.2 percent from the field and 84.9 percent from the free throw line. … A three-time ACC Freshman of the Week honoree. … Ranked fifth in the ACC in free throw percentage, 10th in rebound average and 12th in scoring. … Set a Duke single-season record with six games of at least 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks — third most in the Duke career record books. … Ranks fourth on the Blue Devils’ single-season freshman charts in free throws made (118), fifth in both free throw percentage (84.9) and rebounding, seventh in scoring, eighth in blocks (1.1 bpg) and 10th in both steals (1.3 spg) and minutes (33.3 mpg). USA Basketball: Has won three gold medals with USAB. … Averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds to help lead the United States to a first-place finish at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship. … At the 2014 FIBA U17 Worlds, averaged 11.3 points and 3.1 rebounds. … Posted 10.0 points and 4.6 rebounds at the 2013 FIBA U16 Americas. … At the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit with the U.S. Junior Select team, scored 14 points in a win over the World Select team. … Participated in the 2015-16 U.S. Men’s Junior National Team minicamp.
High School: Averaged 29.5 points and 9.1 rebounds as a senior with Chaminade HS. … Ranked as the No. 3 recruit by ESPN and Rivals and No. 4 by Scout and 247Sports. … Named 2016 Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year. … Naismith Award finalist. … Played in the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic, tallying 18 points in each game. … A Naismith Trophy All-American, MaxPreps All-American and USA Today All-USA First Team pick. Strengths: Smooth athlete with a polished offensive game. … Scores from many different spots on the floor. … Terrific isolation player who has great command of his dribble and gets easy separation from defenders. … Prototypical size and length to defend both forward spots at the NBA level.
Personal: His father, Justin, played forward at Saint Louis University and averaged 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds over three seasons.
“This is a dream come true and everything that I’ve ever wished for,” said Tatum. “I’m so happy to be drafted by an organization like the Boston Celtics.”
CAMDEN – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – After working out for the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday, Markelle Fultz said he wanted to get some cheesesteaks. By next week, Fultz might have plenty of time to get the sandwiches as a member of the 76ers. The 76ers reportedly agreed on a trade with the Boston Celtics Saturday night that involves multiple draft picks that would give Philadelphia the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
“I’m definitely going to get some cheesesteaks from somewhere,” Fultz said after working out for the 76ers. “I have to get a cheesesteak. I’m big on that.”
Multiple outlets reported the deal will happen and once it becomes official, the 76ers intend to use the pick on Fultz at Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center.
The deal is expected to be announced Monday since the league offices are closed on weekends.
In 2015-16, the Sixers won 10 games and used Ben Simmons with the top overall pick. Simmons was the first No. 1 pick for the Sixers since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson in 1996 and he missed the season as Philadelphia improved its win total to 28.
According to reports, the Sixers are expected to give up the No. 3 pick, the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick in 2018 and possibly another future first-round pick. That pick could be a protected pick in 2021.
The former Washington guard has been the consensus No. 1 overall pick in many mock drafts and worked out for the 76ers Saturday. The workout in Philadelphia occurred instead of a previously scheduled meeting with the Celtics.
Fultz worked out at the team’s practice site in Camden, New Jersey, and hours before the workout, the buzz was building. Joel Embiid, who maintains an active presence on social media tweeted out a picture of himself and teammate Dario Saric standing in front of a locker with a Fultz’s name plate.
“He and I have been talking before when I was in college,” Fultz said. “He’s a cool guy. He’s giving me tips and pointers and he’s pretty funny, so when I saw that it was pretty cool and pretty funny. I’m pretty happy that the players here want me to come here.”
When Fultz arrived from his home in Maryland at the facility, he was wearing a black 76ers hat and there was an overflow media crowd taking pictures. Fultz also posed for pictures with Embiid, Simmons and Robert Covington.
The Celtics own the pick from their 2013 deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. They are set at point guard with Isaiah Thomas and are reportedly interested in drafting Kansas forward Josh Jackson if the pick does not get traded.
Before Friday, it was likely Fultz was going to be a Celtic. Reports began surfacing about a potential deal and rumors surfaced that the Atlantic Division teams were already in advanced talks for a deal.
In his only season with Washington, Fultz averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists. He shot 47.6 percent, averaged along with 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals over 25 games during his freshman season with the Huskies, who posted a 9-22 record.
His rise to likely being the top overall pick at the upcoming draft is occurring three years after Fultz was playing on his high school’s junior varsity’s team.
Last season, he led the Pac-12 in scoring, was sixth among Division I players and the most prolific freshman scorer in the country.
His scoring average is the third highest among freshmen in the last 10 seasons. Only Kevin Durant for Texas in 2006-07 and Michael Beasley for Kansas State in 2007-08 were better and they were No. 2 picks in their respective draft classes
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland