Paul Pierce to retire at end of NBA season, ending 19-year career

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce

The Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce will retire at the end of the coming season, his 19th in the NBA.

Pierce made the announcement in a column for the Players Tribune on Monday. “After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time,” he wrote. “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.”

Pierce will end his career in the city where he grew up but it was with the Boston Celtics that he made his name. The Celtics chose him as the 10th overall pick in the 1998 draft, and he was a 10-time all-star with the team. In 2008 he won the NBA title, the Celtics’ first since 1986. He was also named finals MVP in Boston’s title year and was asked afterwards if Kobe Bryant was the best player in the world. “I don’t think Kobe is the best player,” he said in a quote that went on to cause controversy. “I’m the best player. There’s a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don’t cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself.” 

Pierce, who will turn 39 in October, also had spells with the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards. He is currently 16th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 26,316 points. “Just like any difficult decision, I think you’ve got to be at peace with yourself,” he said on Monday. “I’m at peace with retiring, but I’ve got one more ride left. One more season. One more opportunity.”

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