It’s a common question for professional athletes: When did you know?
For each athlete, the answer is different. For some, it was a childhood dream they worked into reality. For some, it wasn’t until later, maybe even college, that becoming a pro really started to become a reality.
For Paul Pierce, the seed was planted in high school, when a coach spoke The Truth’s potential into existence.
“I was a late bloomer,” Paul recalls. So around 11th, 12th grade I was one of the best players in the country, I remember my high school coach telling me, you can be in the NBA if you work…he said “I don’t say this to a lot of players, I’ve only said it to one other player, and he wound up going to the NBA, Harold Miner, but you can be that next. Bam. It got stuck in my head.”
Though it was becoming a more popular choice in the mid-late 90s, Paul didn’t enter the NBA Draft, instead parlaying his national status into a scholarship offer at Kansas. He recalls really believing in his NBA potential after his freshman year, but he waited until after his junior year to enter, hoping to be the top pick only to fall to 10th overall.
Watch below as he breaks down how that perceived slight gave him fuel and something to prove as he went on to craft a future Hall-of-Fame career.