Nov 23, 2021 12:26 PM

Paul Pierce enshrined into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Posted Nov 23, 2021 12:26 PM
Photo courtesy <a href="http://kuathletics.com">kuathletics.com</a>
Photo courtesy kuathletics.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas men’s basketball great Paul Pierce was one of eight individuals inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Sunday evening at The College Basketball Experience (CBE) in Kansas City, Mo.

It was Pierce’s second hall of fame enshrinement of 2021. In September, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Joining Pierce in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 was Maryland’s late Len Bias, UCLA’s David Greenwood, Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins, Ohio State’s Jim Jackson, North Carolina’s Antawn Jamison, and coaches Rick Byrd and Tom Penders. The Class of 2021 is the 16th induction class in the college hall’s history.

The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame opened in 2006 with 11 KU-related players and coaches being part of the founding class. Pierce joins Danny Manning (2008) and Clyde Lovellette (2012) as formally being inducted from Kansas. Other KU-related players and coaches include: F.C. “Phog” Allen, Larry Brown, Paul Endacott, William Johnson, Arthur “Dutch” Lonborg, John McLendon, Ralph Miller, Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith and Roy Williams.

“It was the fans, the people, the relationships that you build in college; growing up from a boy into a man,” Pierce said of his fondest memories about being a Jayhawk. “College is your last chance to be a kid. And once you’re done with college, you’re going into adulthood, whether its in the workforce or in my case, I was able to play in the NBA, and its serious business. I remember those good old times of hanging with your teammates, having fun, being a kid again. Those memories will never go away.”

Pierce averaged double-figure scoring in each of his three seasons at Kansas from 1995-98, leading the Jayhawks to 98 wins, three conference titles and a pair of league tournament championships. Pierce finished his career with 1,768 points, including 777 in his junior season where he was named a Consensus All-America First Team and a finalist for the Wooden Award. He was most outstanding player in both the 1997 and 1998 Big 12 Tournaments and his jersey was officially retired by KU in during the 2003 season.

After being selected 10th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1998 NBA Draft following his junior season at KU, Pierce went on to become a 10-time NBA All-Star, four-time All-NBA selection, NBA champion (2008) and NBA Finals MVP (2008). With 26,397 career points, he ranks 16th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

The storied playing career of Pierce concluded when he announced his retirement from the NBA following the 2017-18 season. Affectionately known as “The Truth,” Pierce played 19 seasons in the NBA, which was the longest-tenured Jayhawk in the NBA of all-time.