Sunday afternoon, the Boston Celtics would retire Paul Pierce’s jersey. And even though the Celtics would get blown out, that moment lasts forever. When you ask a modern-day fan what they think of when they think of the Celtics, they’re going to say Paul Pierce.
But Robert Parish, who would spend 14 of his 20 NBA seasons in Boston, thinks Pierce is better offensively than Larry Bird. Yes, that Larry Bird.
“I just feel like Paul was more creative. He was the better scorer than say Larry or John Havlicek. I think Havlicek and Larry and Paul were probably the best offensive players that the Celtics ever had.”
But he doesn’t stop there.
“I think Paul tops that list, in my opinion.”
There are a couple of layers here, of course. Better overall player? No contest. It’s Larry Bird in a landslide. But offensively? At least a conversation can be had. After all, Pierce has more career points (24,021) than Bird (21,791). But Havlicek (26,395) ranks first in that category anyway.
But that’s not all. Bird would average 24.3 points per game on 49.6 percent shooting for the Celtics. Meanwhile, Pierce would average 21.8 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting. There’s no doubting ‘The Truth’ is a great offensive player. There’s no doubting that Celtics fans will remember him forever. But better offensively than Bird?
It’s a bold claim to say the least.