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How Boston became my town

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  December 17, 2009 11:41 AM

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I guess the obvious question is, "Why am I doing this?"

I've put a lot out there about myself for Celtics fans and for Paul Pierce fans in the past. You all know who I am as a basketball player and a Boston Celtic.

But for me, blogging is going to give me a chance to let other people get to know me even better, which is what I really want. When I'm done with this game I want people to know more about Paul Pierce as a person than just as a basketball player.

When I retire I don't want people to just talk about my accomplishments on the court. When I'm done playing I want them to really know about me, about my life and what I do to make a difference in my community and the positive impact I try to have on other people.

I've been in Boston for 12 years. At this point, I probably know this city better than where I grew up in Inglewood, Calif. I've been here so long. (It took me like 6-7 years to really learn this city with all these rotaries, but hey ... ).

Now I feel like Boston is MY city. I have embraced it and I love it.

I still remember the day I got drafted. In my mind, there was no way I was ending up in Boston. I had only worked out for the top five teams in the NBA Draft that year. But on draft night I slipped to 10.

When Boston called my name, I felt so many mixed emotions. At first, I was kind of upset that I went to Boston -- don't forget now, growing up as a Lakers fan in LA, this was a team that I hated! Then I remember seeing how Scott, a close friend of mine, who I consider an uncle/father, reacted to the news. He just started clapping and said. "That's right! This is where we wanted to be!"

So I thought, "You know what. You're absolutely right." These other teams didn't want me and this was the team that did want me. I wanted to be somewhere with a team that wanted me. And my dream to be in the NBA was just realized. Plus all those banners and trophies certainly didn't hurt!

I remember a couple years ago -- the summer I signed an extension -- I was talking with my mom and my brother about the possibility of going to play in other cities, maybe trying to win somewhere else. It was something that I was always talking about with the people closest to me. And it was crazy because my mom said to me, "You've already started building something special over there in Boston."

I had great friends here, knew the restaurants, the hotels, the club owners. I was really comfortable, you get so used to it. When I moved from Oakland to LA -- I think I was 8 or 9 years old -- and it was traumatic because I thought I lost everything I knew, all my friends all the relationships I had built. It's like you're starting over, and you think about that. 

She said, "The grass ain't always greener on the other side."

And everybody says it, but when you think about it, just because you go somewhere else, that doesn't mean that things are going to be better. She was just reminding me how I built something in Boston and how I should ride it out.

That made me change my whole attitude about the situation. I was a captain of the team. I was making the All-Star team. She said to me, "Make change there. You're going to have your ups and downs, but it's going to turn around eventually. You be the one to make change!"

And she was right.

I'm so glad I was able to sign an extension that year. I was so close to testing free agency. And then I just knew I was here to stay, that Boston is my city and I love it.

It's funny because I asked Kevin (Garnett) where he wants his number retired. He's going to be one of the greatest players to ever play this game. He started in Minnesota. He won his championship in Boston. The same thing with Ray. He spent so many years in Milwaukee.

And it's like where do you want to be remembered?

I've been in an amazing position to say that I'm going to be linked 100 percent to the Boston Celtics.

To say that I've played with only one franchise, and accomplished what we have, it's almost like a miracle. You don't see that any more. You don't see the same players staying with the same team like that. I'm a true follower of the game and only five guys have played for one team for 10-plus years, especially in the last 10. There's Tim, Kobe, Ilgauskas, Nowitzki, and me.

You're always going to associate Kobe with the Lakers. You're always going to associate Timmy with San Antonio. Those guys won championships for their teams and they've been there their whole career.

You look around the league and see a lot of great players. You have some Hall of Famers that have been on multiple teams and you think at the end of the day, which team do they represent? And I can definitely say I am a Boston Celtic through and through. When people look back at my career they're going to identify me with one team.

Boston is definitely home. 


As told to Globe reporter Julian Benbow.
Paul Pierce's FitClub34 by Harvard Pilgrim

Paul Pierce's FitClub34 by Harvard Pilgrim is a Truth Fund program providing children with the information, resources, and tools necessary to become more active and physically fit. To learn more, visit www.truthonhealth.org

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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About the author

Paul Pierce is the captain of the Boston Celtics. Pierce has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 1998 out of Kansas, and led them to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008, when he was the NBA Finals MVP. More »

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