When Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce returned to the home of the Celtics to play against their former team for the first time Sunday night, the franchise they helped win an NBA title surprised them with gratitude.
Both Pierce and Garnett were traded to the Brooklyn Nets at the end of the 2013 season, to the dismay of Celtics fans. The pair almost single-handedly helped the Celtics win the 2008 NBA title in an action-packed seven game series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Pierce had only ever played for the Celtics, beginning in 1998, and KG had been with them since 2007.
When Boston poster boys came back as Nets to play against them, Boston showed its gratitude in two moving tribute videos to the former hometown stars. The videos were met with standing ovations and roars of cheers.
Pierce told the Boston Globe that he was incredibly moved. He said, “It was tough. It was tough for me to swallow. I was probably about five seconds from shedding [tears]. It was five seconds. I admit to it. There are no words that can really describe the shower of love.”
KG echoed Pierce’s sentiments, saying, “I think we will always bleed green. As long as we’re playing basketball, as long as we’re living, even when we’re buried 6 feet [under]. That’s just what it’s going to be.”
It’s easy to see the place the city still holds in its heart for the two former favorites. See for yourself: