HOW PAUL PIERCE BECAME THE TRUTH is a notable story, but perhaps even more remarkable is how perfectly the nickname has come to suit him.
| "Take this down. My name is Shaquille O'Neal, and Paul Pierce is the [expletive] 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."
—March 13, 2001
Despite his immense talent and desire, Paul spent much of his early career without the admiration regularly heaped upon more showy, self-interested superstars. He never talked about himself in the third person or about his own greatness. For Paul Pierce, playing basketball was simply about that -- playing the game from the tip to the final buzzer, and playing as hard and as well as you possibly could.
Even when the Boston Celtics reached the NBA Finals in the 2007-2008 season, even after leading his team to the best record in the NBA, it wasn't Paul that the media was consumed with. It was the Los Angeles Lakers and their stars. Even on his own team, it was Kevin Garnett who garnered all the attention -- all of which was fine with No. 34.
Because for the Truth, it isn't about being touted as being the most clutch player in the world. It is about being it. It's not about telling people you're a leader. It's about leading your team to the NBA championship, and being named the Finals MVP.
It's not about being told to do help those who are in need. It's about serving the people around you because of the need inside you to help.
Being the Truth is about embodying what it means to be a champion on and off the court, and that is precisely what Paul Pierce does.
THE BIRTH OF THE TRUTH
March 13, 2001. Paul, in his third year in the league, traveled to Los Angeles to face the Lakers.
The game ended in a 112-107 loss for Boston, but the performance of No. 34 stunned his opponents and much of the Hollywood crowd. Paul had scored an astounding 42 points on 13-19 shooting , uncorking his entire repertoire, showing the moves that compelled his coach, Rick Pitino, to call him the "total package."
After the game, Shaquille O’Neal -- already an NBA champion -- pulled a Boston reporter aside in the locker room.
"Take this down. My name is Shaquille O'Neal, and Paul Pierce is the [expletive] 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."
And just like that, a legend was recognized.