BOSTON (CBS) – Sunday night was a special night for Boston, as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett returned to the TD Garden for the first time as members of the Brooklyn Nets.
Both were honored with video tributes and numerous ovations and chants from Celtics fans in what turned out to be a very emotional night for each of them. Adam Jones and Rich Keefe both thought the ceremonies were perfect, and a very classy way to honor two very important players in recent Celtics history.
“The way they handled it was completely and totally on point, and it’s pretty unanimous that that was handled borderline perfectly. From the way they gave Garnett the tribute first, then got into Pierce with a longer and more drawn out video, which was deserved. They absolutely made the right decision. ”
“If anyone deserved it, it was Paul Pierce. Kevin Garnett was great for his six years here, especially during the championship of 2008, but if anyone deserved what he got, the bond between him and the city, it was Paul Pierce,” said Jones. “If I would have been there in the building, it probably would have been more difficult watching that.”
“The Garnett one was cool, he was certainly great the six years he was here, but Paul Pierce is one of the best Celtics to put on that uniform,” said Rich Keefe. “They showed the side-by-side with him and Antoine Walker, and you remember those days. Then you saw the team getting better and the championship run. It was everything you wanted it to be.”
Jones reflected on Pierce’s 15-year career in Boston, and how much he grew up not just as a player but as a person.
“He starts out with a tragic event with the stabbing downtown. Then he goes through All-Star Game after All-Star Game where he’s the leader of the organization, then he’s a little bit of a malcontent after that Pacers playoff series where he comes out and complains he isn’t getting the calls. Then he gets his extension right before KG and (Ray) Allen get here, and then he was MVP of the NBA Finals and was even more embraced by the city. Forget about our connection to him, but think of how much he grew up while he was here.”
With such a legacy in Boston, Jones wouldn’t be surprised to see Pierce back with the Celtics — maybe as soon as next season.
“Pierce is a free agent next year, and after a night like (Sunday night), whether it’s next season or a couple down the line, you wonder if that leaves the door open for him to come back. The way the Garden embraced him and the way it legitimately impacted him; you could see it with him watching the video tribute. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back here next year or a couple of years down the line, and it’s not going to be a one-day contract to retire a Celtic. I think he’d come back, play some games and maybe be part of turning this right back around. That would be a nice ending for a guy that never wanted to leave in the first place.”
Jones also shares his thoughts on David Ortiz’s recent comments about getting a new contract from the Red Sox: