Paul Pierce joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett as NBA greats from the 90s who are calling it quits this year.
Check your gray hairs. Yet another NBA player from your childhood is hanging up his jersey.
In an essay written for The Players Tribune, Paul Pierce announced that the 2016-17 NBA season will be his last. Pierce was drafted in 1998, this will be his 19th season in the league. He will be playing his final season with his hometown Los Angeles Clippers.
This is it, my final season.
It’s time to move on from the game of basketball.
Just like any difficult decision, I think you’ve got to be at peace with yourself. I’m at peace with retiring, but I’ve got one more ride left. One more season. One more opportunity.
With the Clippers, in the city where I grew up, I feel like I have that opportunity on a great team. We’re hungry. We want to win a championship.
After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I’m going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I’m going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.
Pierce’s pre-season announcement suggests that he wants the same farewell tour treatment that Kobe got this past year. With Pierce announcing that he will be retiring after the 2016-17 season, it knocks him out of contention for joining the Basketball Hall of Fame the same year as Kobe, Duncan and KG. He will undoubtedly be inducted as a first ballot candidate the following year which may include [read: needs to include] Dirk Nowitzki and Mani Ginobili.
Watch Pierce make his announcement, or what he calls “the toughest decision of my life” below.