The Boston Celtics retired Paul Pierce’s number this past weekend, and the NBA Hall of Famer used his speech to remind fans of a forgotten Celtic.
The paul pierce hall of fame ceremony was a special event that took place during the Hall of Fame weekend. Paul Pierce used his speech to remind Celtics fans of a forgotten superstar.
Paul Pierce had some difficult seasons with the Boston Celtics in his early years, but he was lucky to have Antoine Walker on the team. Walker’s peak was fantastic, though brief, and there was a moment when it seemed like he might become the next Celtics icon.
Pierce, it turned out, would be the one to carve his name into Celtics history and set a path for the Springfield. However, at Walker’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, he made sure to remind Celtics fans of his excellence.
When Paul Pierce was selected in 1998, Antoine Walker was already an All-Star.
In the 1996 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics selected Antoine Walker with the sixth overall selection. It didn’t take him long to establish himself as one of the league’s top strikers.
During the 1996-97 season, Walker was named to the All-Rookie First Team. He was an All-Star only a year later. In his second season, the former Kentucky Wildcat averaged 22.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. He demonstrated a wide range of abilities, including rock handling and floor stretching as an undersized power forward.
The Celtics, despite Walker’s particular brilliance, struggled. During the 1997-98 season, Boston finished 36-46, earning the No. 10 selection in the NBA Draft.
After the Milwaukee Bucks selected Dirk Nowitzki and traded him to the Dallas Mavericks, the Celtics were forced to pick Pierce. They now had a couple of forwards to work with.
Pierce’s presence didn’t exactly energize the team, despite the fact that he and Walker regularly put up All-Star-level statistics. Walker’s presence, though, was critical to his development as a player, according to The Truth.
According to Paul Pierce, he saw Walker as a “vet.”
Paul Pierce is just a year and a half older than Antoine Walker. The Truth, though, held Pierce in greater regard since he had previously played in the NBA for two seasons when he came.
Before being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Pierce talked about his relationship with Walker. He considers ‘Toine to have been a crucial mentor for him early in his career. Pierce also said that Walker was the franchise player.
According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Pierce stated, “Antoine was my man.” “The strange thing is that I looked at him like a vet, despite the fact that he’s just a year older than myself. It was almost as though we were in the same class. He took me under his wing and protected me. He was the one who took me out. We accomplished everything as a team. We drove down together after I was named to the All-Star squad.
“Antoine was well-established when I joined the league. I’m starting to think Antoine is the guy. I’m attempting to learn how to be a man.”
As the Celtics emerged from the doldrums of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pierce became a pivotal player. Nonetheless, Walker’s lack of a championship should not diminish what he achieved in Boston or what he meant to the organization.
The only thing lacking from Antoine Walker’s Celtics career is a championship ring.
Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce share a chuckle | David Goldman/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images
Younger Celtics fans are unlikely to recall Walker’s brilliance in Boston.
Walker averaged 20.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in seven seasons with the Celtics. During the 2001-02 season, he was named to three All-Star teams and led the NBA in minutes played. In Boston, the Chicago native accomplished everything but winning a championship.
Walker would go on to win a ring in 2006 alongside Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Miami Heat. Pierce got his two years later, when he joined up with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to become the Boston Celtics. To win their first championship, both teams had to make major squad changes.
Given what the Celtics achieved a few seasons after Walker departed, Walker’s legacy may not seem as significant. Pierce, on the other hand, reminded the casuals that Walker was a legend in Boston even before the “Big Three” period and contributed to make Celtics game tolerable.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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The paul pierce 2021 is a reminder that Paul Pierce will always be remembered as an important part of the Boston Celtics.
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