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I grew up hating everything about the Celtics and Larry Bird, but then I won them the NBA title and I’m in their record books.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

That’s certainly the case for Paul Pierce, who became a Boston Celtics playoff legend and NBA Hall of Famer, but grew up hating one team more than any other.

Paul Pierce finally found a way to support his Boston Celtics

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Paul Pierce finally found a way to support his Boston CelticsCredit: Getty

Pierce was born in California and had a team as a child.

The same team that included Magic Johnson, helped define the rise of the NBA in the 1980s and was a bitter rival to the Celtics across the country.

“I was a huge basketball fan. And growing up in Los Angeles, Inglewood, down the street from the Forum, I couldn’t stand the Celtics,” Pierce told ESPN in 2019.

“I hated the Celtics so much. You understand the rivalry. I hated Larry Bird, I hated everything about the Celtics.”

Pierce wasn’t just drafted by Boston.

He thrived on the East Coast, a world away from the glamor and sun of Los Angeles and the Showtime Lakers.

“Growing up on the West Coast, especially in Los Angeles, you hate the Boston Celtics,” Pierce said. “It’s just that you have vested interests in this area.”

From 1998 to 2013, Pierce was Celtic and only Celtic.

Pierce was one of the best players in the NBA while wearing Celtic green

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Pierce was one of the best players in the NBA while wearing Celtic greenCredit: Getty
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson captured the height of the Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalry

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Larry Bird and Magic Johnson captured the height of the Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalryCredit: Getty

He finished his 19-year NBA career playing for four teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards.

But even in 2024, Pierce is instantly associated with Celtic green.

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In franchise history, he ranks behind John Havlicek in most points made and is first in 3-pointers made (1,823) and free throws (6,434).

Pierce is a Hall of Famer with 10 All-Star selections and 2008 NBA Finals MVP.

When he led Boston to a world title in 2008, the Celtics beat his favorite childhood team — which included Kobe Bryant — on basketball’s biggest stage.

It was Pierce and his Celtics beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 to win a shiny trophy.

“It’s really ironic that I got drafted by the Celtics, played against the Lakers and won a championship against them,” Pierce said.

Before becoming an NBA Hall of Famer, Pierce was like any other Los Angeles fan and had no idea what the future held for him.

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Before becoming an NBA Hall of Famer, Pierce was like any other Los Angeles fan and had no idea what the future held for him.

But he wasn’t done with hating the Celtics.

“Larry Bird, I hated him more than anything,” said a smiling Pierce as he recalled his fandom before he turned pro, which all changed after the 1998 draft.

The NBA playoffs resume Tuesday with matchups between the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves against the Denver Nuggets.

Pierce’s former team, Boston, holds a 3-1 second-round lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers after a 109-102 victory Monday.

LeBron James was in the crowd and received a standing ovation before the Celtics extended their playoff advantage.

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