Paul Pierce Talks Wizards as His Farewell Tour Stops in DC
— Ledell's Place (@LedellsPlace) December 18, 2016
Doc Rivers took an unnecessary shot at Washington Wizards fans when he was asked before the Sunday afternoon Clippers game if Paul Pierce was going to get ceremonial minutes against his former team:
“He wasn’t here long enough to have any memories as far as I am concerned. He made a ‘I called game’ shot. Other than that … you know, but no, I think his memories are always when we go to Boston, that’s a special day.”
A game-winning shot in a second-round playoff series that the team ultimately lost may not be memorable for the NBA champion coach, but around these parts it qualifies as one of the franchise’s greatest moments in the last 10 years.
Pierce, for his part, takes a more nostalgic view of his time in Washington and he talked before the Clippers game on Sunday about his impact on the Wizards, the alleged John Wall-Bradley Beal feud, and savoring the end of his career.
On Enjoying His Time in D.C.
“It was really fun. The city, the team, the fans really embraced me here, and I was able to be a great influence on a young team that was taking steps to be a playoff team at the time. Just being around those guys, the young guys really kept me young and energetic.
“D.C. will always be in my heart. Even though it was one year, like you said, it seems like a lot more. I think I made a great positive impact on the franchise, I made a lot of friends here and it was a lot of fun.”
On the Alleged Bad Relationship Between Wall and Beal.
There was a lot of off-season talk about tension between John Wall and Bradley Beal. Pierce isn’t buying it:
“From the outside looking in you always hear stuff, but my time here I really didn’t see any clashes between them. Just because you have two guys who maybe don’t hang out off the court as much as you want to, I thought them guys really got along pretty well and I think they are learning to play with each other more and more every year they are together. I just think when you are losing and things aren’t going your way, little things get brought up and sometimes that happens. I’ve been the victim of that in the past playing with losing teams so that’s all part of it.”
On His Best Memories Being Off The Court.
“A lot of the moments that stand out for me – you guys obviously saw the things that were happening on the court – but just things off the court. Just seeing the maturity of Otto Porter, knowing that I had an influence on him, Bradley Beal, John Wall. A lot of these things that I’ll remember are the things off the court, having a relationship with them. Talking to them guys, helping them understand the everyday process. Those are the things I’ll remember. I keep up with them even to today just to see how they are doing. I talk to a few of the guys. A lot of off the court things that happened that I’ll always remember. Of course, a lot of people are going to remember the memories we provided in the playoffs, but the things off the court are what I remember the most.”
— Ledell's Place (@LedellsPlace) December 18, 2016
On Whether He Wanted to Get Minutes in his Final Game in Washington.
“It’s all on Doc. To me, I’m just going to stay ready, stay prepared like I’ve been doing each and every day. We’ve been playing well lately, we’ve been on a four-game winning streak, so that’s a coach’s decision. I would love to get out there and play. As a competitor you want to get out and compete but I’m happy with coming out here working each and every day and staying ready and enjoying this last year.”
On Savoring His Final Season in the NBA.
“It’s getting closer. I just looked up and saw we’ve played 26 or 27 games, it’s almost halfway through, so I’m enjoying every moment of it with the guys and, like you said, this is my last lap so I’m going to spend most of this – especially when it comes to this east coast trip because I know this will be my last time in a lot of the eastern conference gyms.
“I am making sure I get a picture in each and every arena before every game on the other team’s logo because I know this could be the last time I’m playing in these arenas. So I am able to soak it all up. I get to the arenas a lot earlier than I have in the past to soak it all in.”
And, because no Paul Pierce retrospective would be complete without it – despite what Doc says – we leave you with the most lasting memory of Pierce’s time in Washington.
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