Paul Pierce’s Los Angeles Clippers teammates have an odd sense of humor. Last night the 38-year-old future Hall-of-Famer returned to play in Boston for the first time since joining the Clippers last summer. Pierce spent 15 seasons with the Celtics and won an NBA championship with them in 2008 under current Clippers coach Doc Rivers. This was his eighth time returning to Boston since being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2014, but it could very well be the last time that Paul Pierce sets foot in the TD Garden as a player, as he has hinted at retirement after this season. To celebrate the reunion Pierce was given a starting spot so that his name could be announced to the Boston crowd, who applauded him.
However, as he trotted the gantlet his teammates dog-piled him, playfully simulating punches and what appear to be prison-yard shanking motions as Pierce smiled and feigned injury.
The significance of the joke was lost on most watching but BarstoolSports tweeted a Vine that put the horseplay in its likely context.
“Paul Pierce returned to Boston tonight so the Clippers decided to re-enact his stabbing for some strange reason.”
On September 25, 2000 Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck and back while attending a private function in the pool room of the Buzz Club. It was before the start of the NBA season but Pierce was in Massachusetts to participate in a charity golf tournament. He left the hospital less than a week later. Three men were acquitted and two were convicted of assault and battery of Pierce.
He recounted the event years later in an interview with ABC:
“It was a miracle because the deadly strike right here pierced my diaphragm and my lung, but stopped short of my heart.”
The incident was also immortalized by Wu-Tang’s GZA on the 2002 track “Fame” where he spit “Jeffery (Lyons) stuck with a thorn from George’s (Bush)/Paul (Pierce)d in the heart as the crowd pushed.“
However, the Celtics got the last laugh besting the Clips 139 to 134. Despite the honorary start Pierce only played for 21 minutes and put 6 points on 2 3s.