This year will be Paul Pierce’s final season in the NBA, he announced on Monday. By the end of this year, the former Jayhawk will have spent 19 years in the NBA with four different teams.
Pierce, 39, announced the decision via a column and video in The Players’ Tribune.
“I realized that it’s time to move on from the game of basketball,” Pierce said in the video. “The toughest decision I had to make in my life, but this is it. This is my final season.”
Pierce was drafted in the first round in 1998 after playing three seasons at Kansas. He played 15 seasons for the Boston Celtics, the last of which was the 2012-13 season. He was a 10-time All-Star, NBA champion and NBA Finals MVP.
However, since leaving Boston in 2013, his points, rebounds and assists per game have declined. Last season, he averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game and he started in only 38 games, another career low.
At Kansas, he was a consensus first-team All-American and a 1998 Wooden Award finalist before going to the NBA. His number was retired by Kansas in January 2013.
“I realized that you can’t play forever. This is a young man’s game,” Pierce said. “The signs, they’re there. You can’t reach the goals that you put out there for yourself like you’ve done in the past and it gets harder as you get older and the players get better.”
He will finish his career with the Los Angeles Clippers this season, with eyes set on another NBA championship. The Clippers are currently fourth in ESPN’s NBA power rankings. His final season will begin on Oct. 27 against Portland.
“After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I’m going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I’m going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.”
Paul Anthony Pierce was born on October 13, 1977. He is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Pierce was a high school McDonald’s All-American and earned All-America first team honors in his junior year at Kansas.
Pierce spent the first fifteen years of his career with the Boston Celtics, who drafted him with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft. In July 2013, Pierce was included in a deal that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets, along with teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. He signed with the Washington Wizards the following offseason, but after just one season with the Wizards, he moved back home to Los Angeles and reunited with his former Celtics coach Doc Rivers at the Clippers.
During his time with the Celtics, Pierce had been a starter on the team for every season. He is a ten-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA team selection, and also led Boston to the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, winning the 2008 NBA Finals. He was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP in his first trip to the NBA Finals. Pierce is also one of only three players, alongside Larry Bird and John Havlicek, who have scored over 20,000 points in their career with the Celtics alone. He holds the Celtics’ record for most three-point field goals made and also ranks third in team history in games played, second in points scored, seventh in total rebounds, fifth in total assists, and first in total steals. He has also made the fourth most three-point field goals in NBA history, behind only Jason Terry, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen. His nickname, “The Truth”, was given to him by Shaquille O’Neal.