USA Today Sports

Biggest Comebacks: Paul Pierce returns from getting stabbed to play all 82 games

Aaron Halford
October 11, 2018 - 5:14 pm

It was a Monday night, and Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce was out at The Buzz Club, a dance club in Boston’s Theater District. After a fight broke out inside, Pierce tried to mediate the situation and separate the individuals involved. 

Moments later, Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck and back, and had a bottle smashed over his head, putting both his life and basketball career in jeopardy. Pierce was rushed to the emergency room and eventually had to undergo lung surgery to repair the severe damage. 

After a grueling recovery process, skeptics wondered how much Pierce would be able to contribute to the Celtics the following season. Some thought he may not play at all. 

Pierce, however, came back strong and finished the 2000-01 season as the only Celtic to play all 82 games. Shaquille O’Neal later named Pierce “The Truth” after he put up an impressive 42-point performance against the Lakers that season. 

Now a retired NBA champion and Finals MVP, Pierce is widely regarded as an all-time great Celtic and one of his generation’s best players. 

Pierce exceeded expectations at nearly every turn in his career, hitting clutch shots, leading the Celtics to victory on a regular basis and eventually getting his No. 34 raised to the rafters, but it was all nearly cut short when he was just 22. Thankfully, Pierce was able to come back from his injuries and continue his great career.


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