Former Celtic Paul Pierce joining ESPN full time

Paul Pierce will appear on ESPN and ABC editions of NBA Countdown.
Paul Pierce will appear on ESPN and ABC editions of NBA Countdown. –AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File

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The Truth has been confirmed.

ESPN will officially announce Thursday that Paul Pierce will join the network as a full-time NBA studio analyst. The 10-time All-Star and Celtics legend who retired following the 2016-17 season after 19 seasons in the league will regularly appear on “NBA Countdown’’ and “The Jump.’’

The news has been expected since Pierce drew rave reviews for his contributions to ESPN’s studio programming during the NBA Finals the past two years. Candid and opinionated, he vastly improved in the role this past postseason, drawing much attention — and holding his ground during the backlash — when he said Kevin Durant had surpassed LeBron James as the best player in the NBA after Game 2. Durant hit the winning basket in Game 3 and was the MVP of the Warriors’ five-game series victory.

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“I love hoops, my whole life has been about the game, so this feels like a natural evolution in my career and I can’t wait for the season to get started,’’ said Pierce.

Pierce, who turns 40 in October, will appear on ESPN and ABC editions of “NBA Countdown’’ with host Michelle Beadle, and fellow analysts Tracy McGrady, Chauncey Billups and Jalen Rose. He’ll appear on “The Jump’’ multiple times per week with host Rachel Nichols and a cast of ESPN NBA analysts and reporters.

“Paul’s analysis matches his personality – he’s very honest, candid and his energy is infectious,’’ said Amina Hussein, ESPN NBA coordinating producer. “His insights and anecdotes about his legendary playing career jump off the screen, and we’re looking forward to his perspective on what is shaping up to be an incredible season.’’

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