Paul Pierce Determined to Be Known as Celtics Great


May 23, 2010

Paul Pierce Determined to Be Known as Celtics Great What does Paul Pierce have in common with Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek and Dave Cowens?

He doesn't want to win just one title. He wants more out of his career in green.

With the Celtics now one win away from the NBA Finals, the captain has begun thinking that when he's stacked up against the great players in the history of the franchise, he's going to be judged by the number of rings in his jewelry box.

Russell won 11 titles. Bird won three. Pierce, the MVP of the 2008 Finals, has just the one.

"You think about it," Pierce said Sunday. "You think about the older players. You think about your legacy. You think about the great Celtics teams of the past. You think about a number of things. Like I've said, when you play on these great Celtics teams, they've done it more than once. When you want to be mentioned with the great players, I think after you win one, when you win two, it really solidifies your position in NBA history as a great player. I'm trying to be there."

A few short months, or even weeks, ago, it was hard to picture the Celtics reaching this position. They played .500 basketball for the final 54 games of their regular season, and they didn't look anywhere near the peak form that brought them a championship in 2008. Competing with Cleveland and Orlando, the beasts of the East, looked a long way off.

What changed, aside from just getting healthy? It was the urgency to hoist a banner to the Garden rafters.

"Concentration," Pierce said. "Knowing that the window isn't too far away from closing. Just the urgency that you get when you reach the playoffs and know that your back is against the wall. This is where all the marbles are won, when you get to the playoffs. You don't want to look back and say you took these opportunities for granted. I think we're making the best of this team and these moments."

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