The Boston Celtics soon will add another number to the TD Garden rafters.
Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca recently told The Boston Globe the team will retire Pierce’s No. 34 at some point during the 2017-18 NBA season.
This isn’t surprising, as the honor was a foregone conclusion, but it’s interesting to see Pagliuca reveal the information just one month after Pierce signed a one-day contract to retire as a Celtic. The organization isn’t wasting any time, just as the Boston Red Sox didn’t waste any time in retiring David Ortiz’s No. 34 this season, mere months after the designated hitter retired from Major League Baseball.
“It’s going to be fantastic,” Pagliuca told The Boston Globe. “For our era, the most recent era, he embodied the Celtics’ leadership, the Celtics’ brand and was the MVP of the championship team. So it’s going to be fantastic to see that happen.”
The Celtics haven’t announced an exact date for Pierce’s number retirement ceremony, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at Boston’s schedule and see which game makes the most sense. Here are four dates the Celtics should consider, along with which date Pagliuca and Co. ultimately should choose.
Wednesday, Nov. 8 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Celtics-Lakers rivalry is special. Pierce grew up a Lakers fan in Inglewood, Calif. He faced the Lakers twice in the NBA Finals, defeating them once for his only title and winning series MVP honors along the way. There are so many reasons for the Celtics to pick this date, as Pierce’s ties to L.A. run deep.
Wednesday, Feb. 14 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Speaking of La-La Land, how about a Valentine’s Day game against the Clippers, with whom Pierce spent his last two seasons? He’ll be able to reconnect with some old friends, including Doc Rivers, who coached the Celtics during Pierce’s only championship season.
Wednesday, Jan. 3 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Assuming things don’t completely unravel in Cleveland over the next few months, a real possibility given the current state of affairs, this would mark an opportunity to retire Pierce’s number in front of one of his biggest on-court rivals, LeBron James, and a team the Celtics battled with during the Big Three era. (The Celtics also host the Cavs on Sunday, Feb. 11, but that’s an afternoon game on the weekend. We’ll assume the C’s would prefer a mid-week special.)
Wednesday, April 11 vs. Brooklyn Nets
Trolling at its finest. The C’s completely fleeced the Nets in the 2013 trade that sent Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. Why not throw a little more salt on the wound? It’d be even more special if Jaylen Brown and/or Jayson Tatum — two players Boston obtained with draft picks acquired in the Brooklyn deal — went off against the Nets. (The Celtics also host the Nets on Sunday, Dec. 31, but that’s New Year’s Eve and let’s face it, you have better things to do.)
The pick: None of the above.
The Lakers game makes too much sense to ignore, but don’t be surprised if the Celtics end up picking a random game before which to honor Pierce. After all, the marquee games will generate enough interest on their own. Why not choose an arbitrary game and spice up an otherwise run-of-the-mill night at the arena?
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images