THE TRUTH WAS NAMED THE MVP of the 2007-08 NBA Finals.
It was an honor well earned, as explained by Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
It was Pierce who deservedly swept all nine ballots in the Finals MVP voting. It was Pierce who fittingly clinched possession of two trophies with 17 points, 10 assists and what is believed to be the NBA's first sideline sneak attack and sports-drink shower of a title-winning coach.
Pierce was undeniably Boston's emotional compass in this series. He set the tone in Game 1 when he refused to succumb to the first knee injury of his career. He helped spark a series-turning comeback from 24 points down in Game 4 in Los Angeles by asking Rivers to let him front Boston's team swarming of a humbled Kobe Bryant. And he amassed eight points and six assists in the Celtics' 34-15 swamping in the second quarter that killed L.A.'s spirit and assured that the hosts wouldn't have to face an everything-to-lose Game 7.
|Continuing the tradition (Getty Images).
Afterward, Paul expressed his gratitude to his teammates, the Celtics and his fans.
"Just to work so hard and for 10 long years being with the Boston Celtics, just going through my ups and downs, Danny, Doc, ownership, guys sticking with me through tough times, this is what makes those other moments so sweet, knowing that you were at rock bottom a year ago today, and to climb all the way to the top, this is a dream come true, and I'm going to cherish this forever,” Pierce said on the court after the game.
"It means so much more because these are the guys, the Havliceks, the Bill Russells, the Cousys. These guys started what's going on today with those banners. They don't hang up any other banners but championship ones, and now I'm a part of it. And just all the years talking to Bill and John, Cousy, finally just I feel like we've come out of that shadow now and created our own, and now we can stand up and look them eye to eye and say, 'Hey, we accomplished it, too.'"
"You guys look at Kevin, myself and Ray, we sacrificed so much of what we did throughout our careers to get to this point because we've done everything we've been able to do individually, won all type of awards, but never made it to the mountaintop, and today it's like a breath of fresh air."
After a summer filled with congratulations and appearances, Paul began the 2008-09 season home opener with a special night. NBA commissioner David Stern was on hand to give Boston's players their championship rings, and to watch the raising of Boston's newest championship banner.
When Paul's name was called, he waved to the fans, eyes welling with emotion. He had been to the bottom, and now he was standing at the top of the mountain, championship ring in hand.
He and his teammates then raised the championship banner to the rafters, solidifying their place in Celtics’ history.