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Paul Anthony Pierce (born October 13, 1977), nicknamed "The Truth",is an American professional basketball forward with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Pierce was a high school McDonald's All-American and earned First Team All-America honors in his junior year at Kansas. Pierce has been a starter every season since being selected by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. He is a ten-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA team selection, and also led Boston to the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, winning the 2008 NBA Finals. He was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP in his first trip to the NBA Finals. Pierce also is one of only three Celtics, alongside Larry Bird and John Havlicek, who have scored over 20,000 points in their career with the Celtics alone. He holds the Celtics' record for most three-point field goals made. He also ranks third in team history in games played, second in points scored, seventh in total rebounds, fifth in total assists, and first in total steals. His nickname "The Truth" was given to him by Shaquille O'Neal on March 15, 2001.
After his NBA debut, Pierce's ability to score, rebound and play defense, and a healthy dose of late-game heroics led to his emergence as a top player in the Eastern Conference. Along with forward Antoine Walker, Pierce led the Celtics to the playoffs in 2002 for the first time in seven years and on to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the historic Game 3 of that series, he led the Celtics to one of the biggest fourth-quarter comebacks in NBA playoff history. Pierce scored 19 of his 28 point total during the fourth quarter, and the Celtics recovered from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New Jersey Nets.
Pierce has averaged 22.0 points per game over his 14-year NBA career and is a 10-time NBA All-Star. Trade rumors involving Pierce swirled when Danny Ainge returned as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations in May 2003. Ainge laid most of these rumors to rest in the 2006 off-season by signing Pierce to a 3-year, $59 million contract extension. Pierce is the only player left from the moment Ainge took over.
Pierce has often played his best games against the best individual competition, such as LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, and Kobe Bryant. For instance, Pierce scored a career high 50 points in a loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 15, 2006. After the game, James stated that he feels that Pierce is the top at the position in the Eastern Conference.Prior to the 2007–08 season, he expressed great excitement at the Celtics' acquisitions of fellow All-Stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and at the chance to contend for a championship. He slimmed down to his college weight of 235 lb (107 kg; 16.8 st) and vowed to pay more attention to defense, as he would not have to carry the offense anymore.Pierce and the Celtics looked to repeat as world champions during the 2008-09 NBA season. Pierce missed only one game the entire season and led the team in scoring. He was named to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game and for the first time to the All-NBA Team Second Team. Despite Pierce's success, with Kevin Garnett hurt the Celtics lost in the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
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