How Paul Pierce Became ‘The Truth’

The Boston Herald takes us back in time, to the day Pierce torched Shaq’s Lakers for 42 points in a loss and earned himself a nickname: “Late one night some 9 years ago, it took the Big Chairman of the Board just a moment to launch a nickname that would become Paul Pierce’s brand … Shaq was finishing up with a few reporters when he spotted the Boston writer and broke away from his pack. He then launched into a complimentary rant about Pierce, squeezing in his favorite maternal expletive between ‘The’ and ‘Truth.’ Pulling a reporter aside, he shook his head and said, ‘Paul Pierce.’ Paul Pierce what? Leaning toward the notepad, he said, ‘Take this down. My name is Shaquille O’Neal, and Paul Pierce is the (very long expletive) truth. Quote me on that, and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.’ Pierce was 23 and trying to establish himself on a bad team in his third NBA year. He was also just six months removed from his near-fatal stabbing. He was appreciative of Shaq’s testimonial that day, and things hadn’t changed when he spoke about it yesterday. ‘You really don’t know what’s going to stick,’ Pierce said. ‘But at that time, being a young player, getting those type of comments from one of the greatest players, it does a lot for your confidence truthfully. That kind of thing really does a lot for a young player. Not a lot of guys get a nickname. You feel like you’ve got to live up to it.'”