I keep watching this American Express video about Paul Pierce in Brooklyn. Like four times last night. It’s calculated and sneakily corporate but it’s awesome anyway. He bowls in the dark. He shoots baskets in the dark. He eats food at gentrified Brooklyn restaurants. He comes off as playful and passionate. He even looks badass in the Brooklyn colors. Basically Amex got everything right.
As Pierce points out in the clip, Oakland sired him, Kansas gave him his first national platform and if Deron Williams gets his act together, Brooklyn just might be where he raises another banner.
But he’s ours. And we’re his. And we all know it. If things go well, after Pierce retires he’ll be back in Boston in the front office. He’s clearly already put a bug in Danny Ainge’s ear about that.
At this point, I’m happy for Paul Pierce the same way I’m happy for Kevin Garnett, who, truth be told, we’d probably also like to claim for Boston even though Minnesota could make a pretty compelling case for him. If Pierce were to walk away today, the single title and single Finals MVP wouldn’t quite balance out all the losing years in Boston, even though they weren’t his fault, and even though they were recontextualized by the new big three era.
But one more title? That changes things in my mind. Then Pierce’s (and KG’s) historical places in the game, amongst the very best to ever play, feel irrevocable. It’s probably irrevocable now if you’ve been paying attention to the league at all the last 15 years. But remember all the talk about Pierce’s fade after the Knicks series last spring? In Boston, we knew he’d had a terrific second half, carrying a huge load for the absent Rajon Rondo. We knew he had a lot left. And as we expected he’s come out of the gate on fire, with a 23.70 PER so far this year.
We were right. But last spring many observers around the league somehow still didn’t know what we knew about Paul Pierce. What we’ve known all along.
When Paul Pierce is gone, I just want them to know.
So, I’m pulling hard for Brooklyn this year. Hoping Pierce and Garnett can shape a culture to match the last few years in Boston. Hoping they stay healthy enough to take down Miami. Hoping Pierce raises one more banner, with KG by his side.
Then I’m hoping he comes home.