Paul Pierce narrated the story behind his popular nickname ‘The Truth’
• Shaquille O’Neal bestowed the nickname on Pierce after his 42-point performance vs. the Lakers in 2001
• O’Neal has a knack for coining nicknames for players
The Boston Celtics landed a dynamite of a player in Paul Pierce with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Pierce quickly became one of the best superstars in the NBA.
Speaking of which, Pierce also had one of the coldest nicknames in NBA history. He was known as ‘The Truth.’ Paul Pierce shared the story behind the nickname in a 2020 episode of the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast and revealed Shaquille O’Neal coined the nickname.
“So I made a point,” Pierce said. “Every time I came to the Staples, I got to have a big game, right? So it was a game where I dropped like 42, I believe, you know, while matched up with Kobe and Shaq, they the champs. I remember a reporter came up to me, his name is Steve Bullpet. He was like, ‘You hear what Shaq said about you?’ I was like, ‘What?’
“Take this quote and don’t edit it, ‘Paul Pierce is the m*****f*****g truth.’ So the next day, in the paper, it’s like, ‘Paul Pierce is the truth.’ So now you know, people are starting to call me that. I’m like, ‘Okay, I like that. I’m feeling that.’ I think I dropped back-to-back forties after that. My confidence was through the roof. If you got Diesel giving you a nickname, that’s respect.”
(Starts at 37:13)
Pierce is referencing to the March 13, 2001, game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. He had 42 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block.
However, Pierce’s heroics weren’t to avoid a defeat. The Celtics lost 107-112 in the game behind Shaq’s 28 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 blocks.
Pierce’s confidence went through the roof after getting the nickname. For his career with the Celtics, he averaged 21.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.9 APG, while also leading them to an NBA Championship in 2008.
Shaquille O’Neal had an amazing approach to the game of basketball. Sure, he didn’t like practicing, but he was always keen on giving new nicknames to elite players.
Apart from coining ‘The Truth’ for Paul Pierce, Shaquille O’Neal was the brains behind Dwyane Wade getting his ‘Flash’ nickname. Wade revealed he was initially not a fan of it, but started liking it later on.
“When he gave it to me, I didn’t like it first,” Wade said. “But he told the media and it started catching on. And I started to see what he saw. I was like, ‘Man I am fast’. Then I bought into it.”
Regardless of whether someone is a teammate or a rival, if O’Neal respected their game, he’d bestow them with an amazing nickname. It is seemingly another great talent of the Big Aristotle.