It’s a cherished Celtics [team stats] bedtime story: A long, long time ago, a young man named Paul Pierce [stats] made a colossal fool of himself during a playoff game against the Indiana Pacers.
But the young man matured as he aged, and he became a leader. The Paul Pierce we watch in today’s NBA is more than a great player; he is one of the game’s ambassadors.
We tell you all that so that we can now tell you this: Part of the reason Rajon Rondo [stats] received such a huge ovation when he was introduced before the Celtics’ Game 3 showdown against the Atlanta Hawks last night at the Garden is because Boston sports fans view him as the future. True, it’s possible he might not be the Celtics’ future, given that president Danny Ainge has been known to get on the phone and say, “Want him?” to the general manager on the other line, but he’s somebody’s future.