Former Kansas standout Paul Pierce signed a ceremonial contract with the Boston Celtics on Monday so he can retire with the organization with which he spent 15 of his 19 NBA seasons.
The Celtics have announced they will retire the jersey number (34) of the 10-time NBA all-star, who had his jersey hung in the rafters of KU’s Allen Fieldhouse rafters on Jan. 25, 2003.
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic,” Pierce said Monday in a statement released by the team. “The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own and I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way. I’m a Celtic for life.”
Pierce, 39, played the last two seasons in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Clippers. Overall, the small forward averaged 19.7 points and 5.6 rebounds a game in 19 NBA seasons. He averaged 21.8 points and 6.0 boards in 15 seasons in Boston.
“We’re honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics – a champion on and off the court,” Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck said. “We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden.”
Pierce was the No. 10 overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft following three years at KU and is Boston’s all-time leader in three-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583). He’s the franchise’s second all-time leading scorer (behind John Havlicek) with 24,021 career points and seventh all-time in rebounds with 6,651.
Pierce was MVP of the 2008 NBA Finals — Boston’s six-game victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Former KU players took to Twitter recently after Pierce played the final game of his career.
“Congrats on the great career @paulpierce34 ... you inspired a young kid from Roxbury (Mass.) to go get it,” read the tweet of Memphis Grizzlies’ guard Wayne Selden.
“To one of my idols growing up playing this game. Always been one of my favorite players and will forever be. Real One. Thanks Truth,” tweeted Marcus Morris, who recently was traded to Boston from Detroit.
Svi scores 16 for Ukraine
KU senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk scored 16 points on 7-of-20 shooting and dished four assists against one turnover in Ukraine’s 91-83 loss to Israel on Monday at the FIBA Under 20 European Championships in Crete.
The 6-foot-8 Mykhailiuk hit 1 of 6 threes and made his only free throw attempt. He had one steal with no rebounds in 33 minutes. Mykhailiuk previously scored 26 points a win over Latvia and 25 points in a loss to Lithuania.
Ukraine fell to 1-2 in Group C entering a Wednesday game against Serbia for a spot in the tournament quarterfinals.
Robinson to play overseas?
Former KU forward Thomas Robinson may or may not be headed to Turkey to play basketball this season.
There were reports Monday that Robinson, 26, who has played in the NBA the past five seasons since being selected No. 5 overall by Sacramento in the 2012 NBA Draft, reached agreement on a contract with Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Robinson according to Eurohoops.net wrote “False” to that report on Twitter on Monday, but the tweet later disappeared from his account.
Robinson averaged 5.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 11.7 minutes a game (in 48 games) for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.