The Boston Celtics signed Paul Pierce on Monday so that he could retire as a member of the organization.
Pierce, a 10-time NBA All-Star, spent the first 15 years of his career with Boston, winning a title in 2008. In announcing Pierce's retirement, co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said Pierce's No. 34 will soon hang in the rafters at TD Garden.
"We're honored that Paul has chosen to retire as a Celtic. He is among the very best Celtics -- a champion on and off the court," Grousbeck said in a release. "We congratulate Paul on a Hall of Fame career, and look forward to seeing his number raised to the rafters of TD Garden."
"It's an honor to have this opportunity to once again call myself a Boston Celtic," Pierce said in the release. "The organization and city took me in and made me one of their own, and I couldn't imagine ending my career any other way. I'm a Celtic for life."
The Celtics have long planned to sign Pierce so that he could retire with the team and former coach Doc Rivers revealed those plans last summer as Pierce pondered his NBA future. Pierce elected to return for a 19th season and had an emotional final game at TD Garden in February, saying it felt like his true NBA sendoff.
The Celtics tweeted shots of Pierce signing his contract in Danny Ainge's office on Monday afternoon. They also showed Pierce suiting up in green practice gear and getting up shots at the team's practice facility.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 17, 2017
The Celtics noted that Pierce retires as the team's all-time leader in 3-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434), and steals (1,583). He's second only to John Havlicek in scoring with 24,021 career points.
Long-time Celtics equipment manager John Connor, who often engaged in epic post-practice shooting contests with Pierce, kept unworn pairs of Pierce's signature Nikes on hand at both the team's practice facility and at TD Garden, according to assistant general manager Mike Zarren. One set finally got put to use Monday as Pierce took up the team's offer to get up one last batch of shots on the practice court. The Celtics posted a video of the 39-year-old Pierce making his familiar elbow jumper and also rising up for a one-handed jam. After the session, Pierce signed the shoes and gave them back to the team.