The fans of the Boston Celtics related with forward Larry Bird perhaps better than anyone and it took them a few years to found their next hero.
When Paul Pierce was drafted by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft, they found that hero.
Pierce helped the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference Finals four times, the Finals twice and win a World Championship in 2008.
Pierce, however, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets before the season began, so unlike Bird, he will not spend his entire career with the Celtics.
Bird, currently the Indiana Pacers’ president of basketball operations, would have loved to see Pierce stay in Boston, but believes Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge, a former teammate, is doing a good job.
“My thing is you would always like to see Paul finish up there, and maybe he will,” Bird told Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “But it’s tough. These decisions today are more scrutinized than they ever were. But you just hate to see a guy spend his whole career there and win a championship and then see him have to leave.
“But Danny knows what he’s doing. And maybe Paul can circle back around and finish up there.”
Pierce, who has said he is open to playing for the Celtics again, is averaging 13. points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Pierce had perhaps his best game of the season in a 96-95 win over the Miami Heat Wednesday night.