Paul Pierce had a pretty epic speech prepared for his Hall of Fame acceptance speech on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, he had nothing but good things to say for the Boston Celtics organization. Pierce, however, wasn’t too cordial about his call out for the nine teams that passed on him during the 1998 NBA Draft.

Pierce was selected 10th overall by the Celtics more than two decades ago, but it is clear that the events of that fateful day had a lasting impact on his decorated career:

“Coming out of college, I was a first team All-American, a projected No. 2 pick,” Pierce explained, via Brian Robb of Mass Live. “I’d like to thank the Clippers, Vancouver Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, the nine teams that passed on me. Thank you for passing on me and adding fuel to my fire. I appreciate that.”

For what it’s worth, Michael Olowakandi, Mike Bibby, and Raef LaFrentz were selected as the Top 3 picks in 1998 by the Clippers, the Grizzlies, and the Nuggets, respectively. Other prominent names that were picked before Pierce were Antawn Jamison (fourth, Raptors), Vince Carter (fifth, Warriors), Jason Williams (seventh, Sacramento), and a little-known guy named Dirk Nowitzki (ninth, Mavs).

Paul Pierce did thank these teams for motivating him to prove his worth, but there’s no denying that he still holds a bit of ill will against them for their decision to pass on him. And of course, there was no better occasion to take his shot at them than in his Hall of Fame induction.
Chris Bosh officially entered the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday and the momentous occasion was not short of memorable moments. Bosh himself was understandably emotional throughout the proceedings as he looked back in what was truly an epic career.

Towards the end of his acceptance speech, Bosh shared an interesting narrative involving Miami Heat team president Pat Riley. Apparently, the high-ranking Heat executive loaned Bosh one of his championship rings during Riley’s recruitment pitch. It wasn’t until Saturday that Bosh returned the ring (h/t SportsCenter on Twitter): What a recruitment pitch that would have been. As Bosh said, this is so on-brand of Pat Riley. Apparently, his little trick worked and Bosh ended up being an integral part of Miami’s title runs.

Bosh returning the ring to Riley on such a special occasion represents a truly full-circle moment for the newly-enshrined Hall of Famer. Clearly, Bosh appreciates all Pat Riley and the Heat organization has done for him throughout his career.

LeBron James was also in attendance to support his brother. So was Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen, and the ex-Heat foursome shared an emotional moment right after Bosh’s speech:


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