Professional athletes are able to do things that amaze the rest of us mere mortals, defying what’s possible on a nightly basis as they strive for victory over their opponent as well as the limitations of the human body. Unfortunately, they are indeed human, and that means that at some point the ride has to come to an end. For NBA superstar Paul Pierce, that time is now.
With the Los Angeles Clippers losing the deciding game seven of their first-round playoff series with the Utah Jazz, Pierce’s career is finished. He had promised to retire at the end of his 18th season, and while he didn’t go out with the championship that he hoped for, Pierce has undoubtedly earned the respect of both friend and foe alike.
After the final buzzer sounded, the Player’s Tribune posted a video to Twitter featuring NBA players and personnel both past and present, including Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, congratulating Pierce on an outstanding career:
Farewell to The Truth. pic.twitter.com/vskkO1qZJL
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) April 30, 2017
Bryant, of course, went through his own retirement tour just one season ago. He battled Pierce countless times as the Lakers took on their bitter rivals, the Boston Celtics. Occasionally, Pierce and Bryant, two of the top swingmen in the league, wound up matched up against each other, and their battles were always mesmerizing.
While Pierce never gained the same level of fame as Bryant did, he was his peer as a student of the game. Alongside Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen, Pierce helped bring a championship to Boston in 2008 by defeating Bryant’s Lakers, though the score would be evened in 2010 when Los Angeles came out on top. It’s never easy to see stars fade away, but Pierce, like Bryant, can leave the game knowing that he did all he could to maximize his talent and leave a lasting legacy.