Former Kansas Jayhawks Star Paul Pierce Enjoyed Fantastic NBA Career

Former Kansas Jayhawks guard Paul Pierce - Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Former Kansas Jayhawks guard Paul Pierce - Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Kansas Jayhawks star Paul Pierce retired after an incredible 19-year, Hall of Fame-worthy career in the NBA.

Paul Pierce enjoyed an incredible three seasons playing for the Kansas Jayhawks from the 1995-1996 season through the 1997-1998 campaign.

In those three seasons, he scored 1,768 points, pulled down 676 rebounds, dished out 236 assists, and recorded 147 steals in 108 games. The Jayhawks went 98-11 while Pierce played at Kansas.

Pierce had a terrific junior season. He averaged 20.4 points a game, 6.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 steals on his way to becoming a Consensus All-American.

As great as he was for the Jayhawks, he may have been an even better NBA player. He ranks in the top 100 in NBA history in numerous categories, according to Basketball-Reference.

  • 15th – Points – 26,397
  • 18th – Steals – 1,752
  • 71st – Assists – 4,708
  • 8th – Free Throws Made – 6,918
  • 79th – Rebounds – 7,527
  • 3rd – Three-Point Field Goals Made – 2,143
  • 24th – Filed Goals Made – 8,668
  • 15th – Minutes Played
  • 15th – Games – 1,343

He was an NBA All-Star ten times, won Player of the Week 17 times, and Player of the Month five times. He was also All-League five times and won the 2008 Finals MVP.

Pierce played in 170 playoff games and average 18.7 points in the postseason, including scoring 271 points in ten games during the 2003 playoffs.

He played 15 years in Boston, one in Brooklyn, one in Washington, and his last two seasons for the Clippers. He appeared in only 25 games in his final season and scored just 81 points.

In September 2000, Pierce survived being stabbed in the back, neck, and face in an incident in a bar, according to ABC News. Not only did he not die from those 11 wounds, he played in all 82 games that season for the Celtics.

In 2012, Amos Barshad had this to say about Pierce’s game for Grantland:

"…Pierce’s drives to the basket as “sedan paced.” He gets to the basket, eventually, often on a combination of moves; he cobbles together feints and dips to clear just as much room as he needs to finish. When, occasionally, he does get up to cram the ball, I often worry that he’ll land awkwardly on an ankle."

Barshad also fondly recalled the Celtics run in 2008 and Pierce’s role int he championship.

"While the championship was sweet enough on its own, watching Pierce elevate his game around his elevated teammates was a revelation. Instead of stifled iso plays, it was fluid ball motion, and Paul directing traffic beautifully."

Gerald Bourguet ran down Paul Pierce’s greatest moments in the NBA for Hoops Habit. It is a great read for all basketball fans!

Nicknamed “The Truth,” Pierce will undoubtedly be in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible. When you look at his career numbers and accomplishments, he has to be considered one of the best NBA players ever.

KU basketball fans will always remember Pierce for his days at KU. He was a winner and an incredible player, one of the greatest Jayhawks ever, too!

The game will miss Pierce’s toughness, versatility, and how great he was in clutch situations.

In today’s culture, Pierce probably wouldn’t have stayed three years at Kansas. He would have gone to the NBA quicker due to his potential. KU basketball fans were lucky to have him for three seasons, and the NBA was extremely lucky to have him in the league for 19.

Thanks for all the memories!