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the 4-year-old Prince took his hat with the No. 34 emblazoned on the front and tried to place it on

Time:2018-02-14 03:09Shoes websites Click:

down Breaks send Celtics Pierce

BOSTON — As he started talking about his family, the emotions finally started pouring out of Paul Pierce.

With his two daughters Prianna and Adrian, his son Prince, and his wife Julie sitting before him on the TD Garden parquet, in front of a sellout crowd, the gravity of the moment hit Pierce.

“This makes it all worth it because of you,” Pierce said. “This makes it all worth it.”

Then, the tears started flowing, and before he could say another word, Pierce was getting a standing ovation.

It was yet another ovation for Pierce after a career full of them, as the Celtics legend joined immortality among the franchise’s greats, his No. 34 retired to the rafters on an emotional night at the Garden.

“For them just to see their dad and how appreciated he was in the city and to be able to leave a legacy to be able to come back years down the line and say that’s my dad, my dad’s number is up there,” Pierce said of his kids after Sunday night’s festivities. “That means a lot to me. They will one day, if they don’t realize it now, they will one day.”

Moments after Pierce choked back tears, the 4-year-old Prince took his hat with the No. 34 emblazoned on the front and tried to place it on top of the Celtics’ NBA championship trophy. A few minutes later, Pierce and his family were all pulling the rope as his number climbed to the Garden’s ceiling.

That moment capped off a day Pierce has long waited for, and will forever cherish.

“This is a special day. If I never make the Hall of Fame or anything, to go up in the rafters as a retired number for the Celtics, that’s just enough,” Pierce said. “That’s enough for me. Everything else is icing on the cake.”

Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe and Antoine Walker were among Pierce’s former teammates who came back for the ceremony, while Robert Parish, Satch Sanders and Cedric Maxwell represented the Celtics legends.

Owner Wyc Grousbeck, former coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge gave heartfelt speeches as they recounted the career of Pierce, who again joked that he knew his number would get retired when Maxwell’s did in 2003.

“You don’t know, you don’t know, until it happens,” Pierce said. “The only thing you can do is work as hard as you can for as long as you can. At the end of the day, you see what happens.”

Pierce, who retired after playing with the L.A. Clippers last season, received a call from Grousbeck last summer that the Celtics wanted to honor him by retiring his number. But he wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly.

“I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” Pierce said. “After I was done (playing) I knew it could happen, but it happened so fast and I’m like, ‘Wow really.’ A year after I’m out playing, I’m just like, ‘Man I’m going up into the rafters and leaving a legacy, something that is going to be forever.’ ”

“Like I said, when you’re forever with the Celtics, you’re forever. It means so much, it means a lot.”

Pierce said he knew he had something to prove after he was passed over by many teams before the Celtics grabbed him with the 10th selection of the 1998 draft. He grew up a Lakers fan in Inglewood, Calif., but Pierce said things happen for a reason.

“It was meant to be,” Pierce said.

Over the course of his career, he proved that he was a lot better than what several NBA “experts” believed.

“Maybe not a lot of the national media looked at me a certain way, but players around the league, they know,” Pierce said. “They know when they have to play against Paul Pierce, what type of night it was going to be. They knew it wasn’t going to be easy. They knew I was going to compete, they knew it was going to be tough. …

“I wasn’t a flashy player or had the commercials, top-selling shoes, but I was a player that was well-respected and people knew when I came into the gym, they had to be ready also.”

Now he can call himself one of the best scorers and players in Celtics history, and a champion. Sunday night, he solidified his legacy forever.

“There’s no greater honor than having your NBA jersey retired for the Boston Celtics,” Pierce said. “No greater honor.”

As for the game that preceded the ceremony, it was a debacle for the Celtics, who lost to the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers 121-99. Coach Brad Stevens said after Friday’s loss to Indiana that his club isn’t playing “crisply” and is “more of a shortcut-taking team than we need to be.” Sunday was more of the same.

They trailed the Cavaliers by as many as 29 — the second time they’ve been behind by that number in the last four days and the third time in the last four games they’ve been down by 26 or more.

The crowd had little choice but to hoot on their heroes. “Yeah, we stunk,” Stevens said of the team’s defensive effort. “They were really good. They had a lot to do with that.”

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