Paul Pierce, Boston Fans Gear Up For Emotional Super Sunday
This year’s Super Bowl Sunday embodies the riveting experience of a Boston sports fan.
Before New England Patriots QB Tom Brady bids for his fifth Super Bowl ring, Boston Celtics legend and current Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce will play his last game at TD Garden. Tip-off is at 2 p.m., just hours in advance of Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
Boston fans must plan accordingly for what will be a day of elevated emotion as they give “The Truth” a final salute before he retires this summer — and then immediately gear up for the Patriots’ quest for #OneMore victory to secure the franchise’s fifth Lombardi trophy.
Just like the fervent Boston fans, Pierce too, must prepare for a full Sunday of sports euphoria. The former NBA Finals MVP who holds Celtics franchise records in three-pointers, free throws and steals and ranks second in team history for scoring (24,021 points, to be exact) is an unabashed die-hard Patriots fan (just glance at his Twitter and Facebook accounts to understand the scope of his fanhood). The 39-year-old became a Boston sports icon alongside Brady in the 2000’s and hopes to see the four-time Super Bowl champion add another ring to his collection on Sunday.
Pierce, a first-ballot Hall of Famer who played the first 15 seasons of his career with the Celtics, has demonstrated his support for the Patriots throughout the playoffs — as he has done for over a decade now — despite last being a part of the Boston sports scene in 2013 when the Celtics traded him to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal.
Pulling for a fellow Boston championship MVP, Pierce holds firm in his belief that Brady is the G.O.A.T. of NFL QB’s. Just ask Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, who spoke on Thursday in his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich,” and revealed Pierce regularly (and adamantly) argues in support of Brady’s illustrious legacy.
“If you ever wanted to throw Paul off his game in practice or just get him in a heated argument, all you had to do was say, ‘I think Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady,’ and he would just go off and want to fight,” Ainge said.
Ainge hinted that the Celtics plan to give Pierce a well-deserved video tribute — just as they did in his first game as an opposing player:
Pierce garners respect from the Celtics Greats and some of the team’s well-known media personalities, including Mike Gorman. The Celtics play-by-play announcer for CSN New England, Gorman called Pierce his “favorite Celtic ever,” while color commentator and former Celtics player and head coach Tommy Heinsohn labeled Pierce the “best pure scorer in Celtics history.”
The undisputed greatest player in the short history of TD Garden — which opened in 1995 — Pierce must say goodbye to the arena where he produced countless memories for Celtics fans. While the original New York Yankees Stadium is “The House (Babe) Ruth Built,” TD Garden should always be known as “The House Truth Built.”
After Pierce is finished playing in his final game on the parquet floor, he must quickly redirect his focus to the Patriots.
“Pierce is the biggest Tom Brady fan and Patriots fan in the world,” Ainge said, “so I know that he’ll have other things on his mind in his last game at the Garden, that’s for sure.”
Boston fans can relate with The Truth in that regard.
Originally published at tylerash.blogspot.com on February 4, 2017.