Growing up, Paul Pierce was the only Boston Celtics player worth knowing. He was the consistent presence tasked with bringing one of the National Basketball Association's greatest franchises back to prominence in the late 90s and early 2000s. It was a big weight to place on a young player's shoulders.
Paul carried Boston until the almighty formation of the Big Three with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007. The next season resulted in the biggest turnaround in NBA history -- a 42-game improvement -- and culminated in an NBA championship over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Pierce walked away with a ring, a Finals Most Valuable Player, and a clean pair of shorts.
Pierce's long, decorated career helped him make a lot of money over the years, too.
Paul Pierce: From Inglewood to Lawrence
Paul Anthony Pierce was born on October 13, 1977, in Oakland, California. He moved to Inglewood, California when he was young and attended Inglewood High School. Similar to how Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team, Pierce didn't make Inglewood's varsity team as a freshman or sophomore.
He put in work on and blossomed into a star as a junior. By the time he was a senior, he was one of the best high school players in the country and earned a spot at the 1995 McDonald's All-American game alongside Garnett, Vince Carter and Stephon Marbury. He committed to play college basketball at the University of Kansas, where he had an excellent career.
- Big Eight Co-Freshman of the Year (1996)
- Big 12 Tournament MVP (1997, 1998)
- All-Big 12 First Team (1997, 1998)
- Consensus first-team All-American (1998)
- No. 34 retired by Kansas Jayhawks
Pierce played three years in Lawrence and left KU after his junior year to enter the 1998 NBA Draft. He was the 10th overall pick by the Boston Celtics.
"The Truth" supported his alma mater in New Orleans during their national title run in 2022.
Boston's Heart & Soul
RELATED: The Awful Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett Trade Continues to Haunt the Brooklyn Nets
Pierce's first three years in the league were rough. Under head coach Rick Pitino, Boston missed the playoffs every year and failed to surpass 36 wins. It wasn't until Garnett and Allen joined the party that the Pierce was able to make it out of the second round. But, hey, things ultimately worked out.
Pierce and the Big 3 made the NBA playoffs in each of the six seasons they were together in Boston. The trio, assisted by Jason Terry, made at least the Eastern Conference Finals three times, including a return to the NBA Finals in 2010. During the second Finals run, the C's eliminated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the last game LeBron played in his first go-around in Cleveland. In a way, you could say Pierce was responsible for "The Decision".
"The Truth" was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 after 15 years in Boston. After a one-year stint with the Nets, Pierce signed a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards. He opted out of his second year in Washington and signed with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. Pierce resigned a ceremonial contract with Boston in the summer of 2017 to retire as a Celtic.
- NBA champion (2008)
- NBA Finals MVP (2008)
- 10x NBA All-Star
- All-NBA Second Team (2009)
- 3x All-NBA Third Team
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1999)
- NBA Three-Point Contest champion (2010)
- No. 34 retired by Boston Celtics
As for his career stats, Pierce was a great scorer, averaging 19.7 points over 19 seasons. He poured in 26,397 points, ranking him 16th all time. He also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Pierce's stellar career earned him a spot in the 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Class. He'll entered the hall alongside notable names like Chris Bosh, Chris Webber and Ben Wallace.
How He Earned "The Truth" Nickname
Pierce's nickname, "The Truth", was bestowed upon him on by then Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal.
In a 112-107 LA victory on March 13, 2001, in which Pierce scored 42 points, O'Neal exclaimed, "Take this down. My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the m*****f*****g truth. Quote me on that and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is The Truth."
Having a nickname given to you by an archrival is one thing. Having it given to you by Shaq -- the king of nicknames -- is gold.
NBA Earnings & His ESPN Career
According to Spotrac, the American former professional basketball player took home $195,132,032 over the course of his 19-year career. The first round draft pick was the seventh-highest paid player in the league during the 2009-10 season with an NBA salary of $19.8 million.
Pierce was hired by ESPN as an NBA studio analyst in September 2017. He made regular appearances on "The Jump" and "NBA Countdown" until he left after a scandalous Instagram Live video in April 2021.
Life at The Pierce Household
The former NBA player was married to Julie Pierce (maiden name Landrum). Together, they have three children: daughters Prianna and Adrian, and son Prince. The two separated in 2021.
Paul Pierce's Net Worth
Per Celebrity Net Worth, Paul Pierce's net worth is $70 million. He had a remarkable basketball career, making four All-NBA teams and two All-America teams, but his greatest accomplishment came after his playing days, when he was crowned GOAT of the Realm.
Pierce isn't shy on social media or in interviews these days, but that doesn't matter. "The Truth" is enshrined forever with basketball's best.
MORE: The Boston Celtics All-Time Starting 5 Has More Rings Than a Jewelry Store
Enjoy all things sports?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.