BROOKLYN - Paul Pierce scored 13 points on Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks, surpassing the 25,000 career point mark, becoming the 18th player in NBA history to do so.
He joins Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and his teammate Kevin Garnett in hitting the 25,000 point milestone. Pierce is in his first season as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, having spent the last 15 seasons with the Boston Celtics, boasting a career scoring average of 21.3 points per game. Garnett and Pierce are the first pair of teammates to each score 25,000 points in NBA history, the Nets report. Pierce currently ranks No. 18 all-time, Garnett No. 14. (When ABA and NBA numbers are combined, they're No. 22 and 17.)
Pierce is likely to join another exclusive club the next time he plays. He's only 13 points away from scoring 1,000 points for 15th straight season, joining only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes and Robert Parish in that club.
Jason Kidd said of Pierce after Friday night's loss to the Hawks, "He's been big for us all year, being able to go from [small forward] to [power forward] ... Offensively, it's a big honor, twenty-five thousand is a lot of points. I'm happy for him."
Garnett "welcomed him to the neighborhood," saying that he's happy for Pierce, his best friend.
"'The Truth' has been a big part of this league," Garnett said of Pierce. "It’s kinda dope to see one of my great friends — best friends — reach the same accomplishments together. We’ve won some things together, (but) tonight was all about him."
Pierce said after the game that he was pressing to get his 25,000th point, saying, "Everybody’s talking about it, my family’s here, my friends, I saw them talking about it. I’m pressing. I was the same way when I reached the twenty thousand point mark. I remember I couldn’t hit a shot in the first quarter, I was pressing just to get it. I’m just glad it’s over with and now I can just focus on the rest of the season."
On joining his good friend Garnett in the exclusive club, Pierce has enjoyed the moment, but is now happy he and his teammates can focus on other things, saying, "I think it’s better to be in the Championship Club, obviously. I mean, statistical things come and go. There’s going to be players in the future that are going to pass me up, but when you win, that lasts forever."
"It’s great, I’m enjoying being part of history," Pierce said reflecting on the moment, while crediting three important things: hard work, consistency and good health.
Joe Johnson, who has over 17,000 career points to his name, which is good for 87th on the all-time scoring list, said of Pierce, "He's obviously sacrificed a lot, but he's been a great teammate and leader both on and off the floor."
This season Pierce is averaging 13.5 points per game in 28.5 minutes, both career lows for the 10-time All-Star.
Also in attendance at Barclays Center was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 career points. He was at the game to speak about his battle with Leukemia and the Skyhook Challenge, to raise money for the cause.