BOSTON (CBS) – Paul Pierce’s No. 34 is officially in the rafters.
The Celtics retired Pierce’s number during a ceremony following Sunday’s game at TD Garden.
After being introduced, Pierce emerged from what the team says will now be named “The Paul Pierce Players’ Tunnel,” which “will serve as a reminder to all current and future players of what ‘being a Celtics’ truly means.”
The Celtics gave Pierce several gifts, including a replica banner of his retired number, a piece of the parquet floor etched with some of his career highlights, and a custom watch.
Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge each took the microphone to reflect on Pierce’s career, as did former Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
“Paul, thank you for all that you have done for the entire city,” Ainge said.
A video montage written by Sean Grande and narrated by Tommy Heinsohn brought Pierce to tears.
Pierce himself then came to center court to address the capacity crowd, which remained in attendance following the game. He began to cry as he thanked his wife and children, prompting the crowd to break into a standing ovation.
“Celtic pride will always be with me and my family. Last but not least, where would I be without at the fans? Where would I be without you guys, the best fans in the world?” Pierce said.
Pierce was celebrated throughout Boston’s blowout loss to the Cavaliers.
Former teammates Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo sat with Rivers, while Robert Parish, Antoine Walker, and others were also in attendance.
Before the game, Rivers talked about Pierce’s legacy in Boston.
“No one sticks. Everyone wants to jump around and look for the team that they can try to win with. Paul could have done that,” Rivers said. “We were pretty bad for a stretch. Yet he stayed and it worked out for him. I just think his loyalty to this organization and this team was amazing.”
With Sunday’s game well in hand for Cleveland, fans turned their attention to “The Truth,” as they chanted “We want Paul Pierce.”
After Pierce hoisted his banner to the rafters, fans chanted “Thank you Paul Pierce.”
“There’s no greater honor than having your jersey retired by the Boston Celtics – no greater honor,” Pierce said at a press conference following the ceremony.