“Leave the Street Behind”: When Magic Johnson Cautioned Paul Pierce to Let Go of His Buddies from the Past in His Rookie Year

8561ca8a nba 2024 01 17t000422.705

Paul Pierce was a local of Inglewood, California, which presumably made him develop an affinity in direction of Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Pierce claimed to be a big-time Lakers fan and would later be educated as properly by Magic Johnson whereas enjoying summer time ball at UCLA in 1998-99. During this era, Pierce obtained some extremely invaluable recommendation from the 5x NBA champion on varied issues, from enhancing his handles to some real-life knowledge that the prodigy wanted as a budding star.

Johnson already knew about the tough neighborhood that Pierce grew up in and perceived the damaging impression his atmosphere may have on him as he turned an NBA star. Cautioning the then-young Celtics rookie, Johnson suggested Pierce to depart the streets behind and never put himself in a place that might jeopardize his place and standing in the NBA.

Here is an excerpt from Magic’s ebook When the Game Was Ours, which notes Johnson’s recommendation to a younger Paul Pierce:

He [Pierce] additionally cautioned Pierce “to depart the road behind” as he made his climb to the NBA elite. “You can’t be hanging on that nook anymore,” he informed Pierce. “You can see your guys, say hi there, however then you definately’ve obtained to carry on shifting. You have
totally different tasks now. They simply can’t be a central half of your life anymore. You can see them as soon as in some time, assist ’em out if you’d like, however there’s an excessive amount of at stake to end up in a place that simply doesn’t make sense.”

Magic had recommended Pierce to stay humble and modest all through his NBA profession, which might go on to improve his status along with his rising stardom. Johnson’s beliefs have been sturdy to the core, which all the time made him an extremely cherished and adored basketball famous person throughout his enjoying days. Even these days, Johnson’s phrases ought to resonate fairly closely with the new era of gamers, who usually discover themselves embroiled in controversy due to their actions.


When Ja Morant was entangled in his gun-flashing controversy, he obtained recommendation from a number of individuals, together with NFL legend Shannon Sharpe and Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins. Both Wilkins and Sharpe have been involved about Morant, who was setting a harmful precedent along with his actions. Magic’s concern for Paul Pierce was comparable, whereby the 3x MVP believed that any affiliation with the incorrect individuals may very well be detrimental to the Celtics legend’s profession.

In retrospect, Pierce adhered to Magic Johnson’s phrases, which allowed him to have a protracted and flourishing profession. The Celtics legend averted main controversies for the most half in his profession and even received an NBA Championship in 2008.

Paul Pierce fondly remembers his time enjoying pickup video games towards Magic Johnson

The 1998-99 UCLA Summer Ball was certainly one of the spotlight moments for Paul Pierce earlier than coming into the NBA. As ‘The Truth’ revealed throughout an look on ‘All The Smoke,’ Johnson arrived with another ‘outdated dudes’ to play towards Paul Pierce and his different younger teammates at the UCLA campus. Johnson tried to win a recreation tied at 6 a bit (1s and 2s to 7) with a mini hook shot. However, he would miss that shot, main Pierce’s workforce to rating on the reverse finish of the flooring.

After conceding a bucket, Magic known as a foul on the play the place he missed his potential game-winner whereas being guarded by Pierce. Indeed, this was a enjoyable and healthful second that Pierce obtained to expertise earlier than his draft, whereas additionally being mentored by his childhood idol.

Leave a Comment