Former Celtics star Paul Pierce took another spin as a writer for Derek Jeter’s website The Players’ Tribune on Monday and addressed what constitutes the biggest missed shot of his Hall of Fame career.
Which shot was it? The answer may surprise you.
It didn’t come in the playoffs during one of his many duels with LeBron James or in one of his two appearances in the NBA Finals.
I happened all the way back in 2000, Pierce’s second year in the league, in a regular season game against the Toronto Raptors.
“We were up 94-93 with not much time left,” Pierce recalls. “I had an opportunity to seal a victory late in the game. Antoine Walker drove baseline and threw it to me for an open shot. I missed it.”
“It was my nightmare.”
Included within the post is a video of then Celtics coach Rick Pitino’s famous (or infamous) “Larry Bird isn’t walking through that door, fans” rant. Both that diatribe and the missed shot happened, probably not coincidentally, 15 years ago Sunday.
Pierce goes on to credit Pitino, calling him “a great coach” and relaying that he still keeps in touch with his first NBA mentor. He makes note of how devastated he felt in the aftermath of that game and describes his thought process after each and every big miss. And he teases a Part 2 of the post, which will arrive on Tuesday.
But the close of the post is its most compelling part. Pierce describes how missing the biggest of the big shots only fuels him toward making the next one he tries.
“So in a way, missing the big shot is my source of strength,” he says. “But making the big shot? Well, that’s what I live for.”
Celtics fans, you may now turn on the waterworks.