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20 Years Ago Today, Paul Pierce Was Stabbed 11 Times And Almost Killed
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this story, but it is definitely worth a read.
20 years ago today, on September 25, 2000, Paul 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 night club in the Boston Theater District.
Pierce 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. He went on to play all 82 games that year.
This is the official ABC news report from September 25, 2000:
Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics was stabbed in the face, neck and back while in the pool room of a nightclub early today and was listed in fair condition.
The 22-year-old player underwent surgery, Boston radio station WEEI-AM said, quoting an unidentified hospital source. New England Medical Center would not release information except to list his condition.
“He’s doing fine. We’re all hoping for a speedy recovery,” said Celtics head coach Rick Pitino, speaking briefly to reporters as he left the hospital today.
Pierce was stabbed at about 1 a.m. while at a private event at the Buzz Club in the city’s theater district, police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns said.
She added that he apparently was with several friends, including at least one teammate she did not identify. The friends drove Pierce to the hospital.
No Arrests Made
Police said they were investigating witness reports that the fight involved people connected to the local rap group Made Men. There were no immediate arrests.
“We’re not sure what the altercation was about,” Burns said. “We’re not even sure Mr. Pierce and his friends were involved in what this altercation was about.”
Former Celtics star and coach Tommy Heinsohn said Pierce had been wearing a leather jacket, which helped protect him. Burns said she could not confirm that information.
The nightclub, which operates under different names at different times of the week, would be cited for allowing an assault and battery on its premises, Burns said. She said there have been several other violations, including at least two assaults, at the club in the past year.
Pierce was to report for the start of training camp next Monday. He apparently was in Massachusetts to participate in Red Auerbach’s charity golf tournament, which was being held today in Salem.
“He was very lucky,” said K.C. Jones, a former Celtics standout and coach. “He had the angels on his side.”
The Boston Celtics legend now revealed what he had to deal with after the incident.
“I was stabbed 11 times, I felt like I was trapped in a box. I couldn’t go nowhere. I battled depression for a year. The only thing that saved me was basketball.”
Only weeks after Pierce was almost stabbed to death, a manager at Morton’s restaurant had a call waiting for him, while he was at the restaurant. The voice on the other end threatened, “I’m going to kill you.”
“So now I’m really paranoid,” Pierce says. “I don’t want to go anywhere. The police sat in the front of my house for months. I was a mess. I think that’s the reason I got back on the court so fast. Me sitting at home thinking about [the stabbing] didn’t work. I went to every practice, sat on the sideline for hours, because that’s where I felt safe. I didn’t want those practices to end because then I had to go back out there in this world that really scared me.”