The year was 2008, and Paul Pierce was down. The Boston Celtics, in their first NBA Finals appearance since the heyday of Larry Bird, were going up against the Lakers with their Big 3 of Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. In Game 1, Pierce collapsed to the floor after defending a Kobe Bryant jumper, appearing to be in great pain. Celtics fans feared the worst as he had to be carried off the floor and placed in a wheelchair to head back to the locker room.
Then, several minutes later, Pierce not only returned to the floor, he ran back to his teammates! It was one of the most dramatic moments in Finals history, and at the moment ranked up there with the heroics of Isiah Thomas and Willie Reed. Many, however, held some doubts about what occurred. Pierce was in absolute agony, yet he strolls back onto the floor minutes later, seemingly without a care in the world? Suspicious.
Theories began to circulate that the leg injury was merely a cover-up for his real reason for needing to leave the floor on such short notice. The most popular theory was, to put it politely, the forward needed to use the bathroom and couldn’t get there under his own power without suffering an embarrassing incident on the biggest stage of his career.
Eleven years later, Pierce moonlights as an analyst for ESPN, but had never addressed the incident for which he is perhaps best known for by casual basketball fans. Until before Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. Pierce, after all these years, came clean about his dramatic fall and return. And it was as those who doubted him suspected: it was not a medical emergency, but rather a bowel emergency.
The Truth has finally spoken the truth. A special shoutout to Jalen Rose, asking the question all of us wondered, whether we admit it or not: “Were you streaking?” This may be the greatest moment of Pierce’s brief analyst career. An absolutely monumental reveal on the biggest stage.
The only downside is that, by acknowledging it, his wheelchair situation is no longer one of the great NBA conspiracy theories of all time. Those who enjoy engaging in such theories must turn their attention back to the lottery and “basketball reasons.”