Approaching the final years of his career, Paul Pierce can look back at a Hall of Fame career plus an NBA ring. But he so easily could not have experienced any of it.
On September 25, 2000, Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back and had a bottle smashed over his head while at the Buzz Club, a nightclub in the Boston Theater District. He had to undergo lung surgery to repair the damage. Witnesses say that Pierce was attempting to separate the fighters when he was stabbed. Tony Battie, Pierce’s teammate at the time, along with Battie’s brother, saved him by rushing him to a nearby hospital.
Originally, it was thought that Pierce was playing the role of a vigilante by stepping in to help break up a fight between two club-goers. The story goes that he got caught in the middle of the scrum, and happened to get stabbed as an innocent bystander. Pierce, however, testified that he was set-up by the group of men after he was caught chatting with a few women at the club. Allegedly, one of the ladies in conversation was related to two of the attackers, who saw Pierce getting close with their family member, and retaliated.
It is a miracle that Pierce survived such a brutal attack. Those who witnessed the event, which was instigated by failed Boston rap group the Made Men, would never have believed Pierce would one day lift the NBA Trophy for the Celtics. Even more amazing, the stabbing didn’t cause Pierce to miss a single game, as Paul Pierce recovered from surgery and went on to become one of the greatest Boston Celtics of all time. He was going into his third NBA season when the incident happened, and after recovery, he miraculously ended up playing all 82 games that season, while averaging 25 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.