I was fortunate enough to be at both Paul Pierce’s first, and last games as a Boston Celtic. In Feb. of 1999, the NBA lockout ended, and to encourage fans to come watch the C’s, they gave away tons of Opening Night tickets. My friend and I won two from a local radio station and watched Paul score 19 points in a loss to the Raptors. Fellow NBA rookie Vince Carter also made his professional debut and notched 16 points in Toronto’s 103-92 win. 14 years later, I sat in TD Garden as Pierce checked out of the Celtics’ Game 6 loss to the Knicks this past May. Deep down in my gut, I knew that would be the last time I saw Pierce in a Celtic uniform. In between those two nights, I saw some of the best basketball ever played by a Boston Celtic. Truth’s mix of strength, grit, determination & sheer will were absolutely a treat to watch over the years.
I was also on hand for some magical games & moments from Kevin Garnett. There were so many that stand out, but that building was electric each & every time the Big Ticket took the floor. For those who have not experienced it, it’s hard to put into words. But the mere presence of #5 brought the fans, the team and the Garden to a new level. He was the soul, the fire & the pulse of those games. His spirit filled the building & brought it to life. When a game started to get out of hand for the opponent, we’d always hope the C’s could get the lead to 20+. That way, we could enjoy watching KG take in “GinoTime“. Each time the jumbotron aired it, it was as if KG had never seen it before. He absolutely loved Ginotime. You just could not get enough of it. Together, Ticket and Truth brought me so much pure, unbridled joy. In their own special way, each man took the phrase “Celtic Pride” to new heights. Seeing them get their rings on Opening Night ’08 was special. Especially for Paul. He went through “blood, sweat & tears” for that franchise, and to see his loyalty and dedication finally rewarded with a championship ring was beautiful. Watching him help raise Banner17 to the Garden rafters was something I’ll never forget.
I’m still grieving our franchise’s loss of these two great players, but I took some time over the last week or so to put together this photo gallery. I selected pics of some of their most memorable moments alone, and together. So thank you Ticket and Truth-you will be sorely, sorely missed here in Boston.