BOSTON (CBS) — We already knew that Paul Pierce would be the last Celtic to wear No. 34 for one of the NBA’s most storied franchises.
But his number will be hanging in the TD Garden rafters a lot sooner than anticipated.
On Thursday, Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca told reporters that the team will retire Pierce’s number at some point during the 2017-18 season. That date has yet to be determined, but Pagliuca’s statement led to some fun speculation online:
Boston’s only home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 8 would make the most sense, given Pierce helped guide the Celtics to his only NBA title against their biggest rival back in 2008. Pierce averaged 21.8 points during the six-game series, earning MVP honors. Pierce, who is from Inglewood, also grew up a Lakers fan.
If they want Doc Rivers on hand for the special occasion, as he was for Pierce’s final game at the TD Garden last February, they could wait until February 14 for the L.A. Clippers’ only visit to Boston. The Clippers were one of three teams Pierce played for after his Celtics days were over, along with the Brooklyn Nets (retiring his jersey in front of the team that mortgaged their future for Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be too cruel) and the Washington Wizards.
They could also go with January 3 or February 11 when the Cleveland Cavaliers come to down if they want LeBron James to witness the event.
However, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Celtics radio play-by-play man Sean Grande also floated the idea of making Pierce’s No. 34 retirement ceremony a stand-alone event, which would give Pierce his own night and wouldn’t draw attention away from an actual game. That wouldn’t be a bad idea, and would also be a good way to pack the TD Garden on an off night.
No matter when they do it, the TD Garden will be packed with plenty of No. 34 jerseys in the stands (not to mention tears) and the evening will sell out rather quickly.
Pierce, who signed a one-day contract with Boston last month so he could retire a member of the Celtics, finished with 24,021 during his 15 years in green, good for second-most in franchise history.