• Paul Pierce told All The Smoke podcast that he wanted the Los Angeles Clippers to draft him
  • He was surprised that he slipped far from what he expected before Boston had him at the tenth pick
  • LA Clippers chose to draft a big man and picked Michael Olowokandi

A lot of stories can be discovered from each NBA draft class – from the player’s personal choice on what team they want to play to their expectations on what draft order would they fall with their basketball credentials.

In the most recent episode of All The Smoke podcast, Paul Pierce shared what is going through his mind during the 1998 NBA Draft – which produced some of the NBA greats such as Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter.

Pierce, born in California, revealed that he was thinking of the Los Angeles Clippers drafting him as the first-overall pick. “‘Oh, I wanna go home and play,’ Pierce said before revealing that he worked out for the Clippers twice. “I was projected to go No. 2 to the Vancouver Grizzlies. Clippers wanted a big man, they picked Olowokandi,” said the small forward referring to seven-footer former Pacific Tiger Michael Olowokandi.

Pierce said that the idea of playing for Vancouver and playing alongside high-scoring forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim already sank into his mind before finding himself slipping out of the draft board. The Grizzlies, which is still based in Canada at that time, selected Mike Bibby.

“The draft comes, and I just slipped.,” said the surprised Pierce. “I’m an All American, I’m a top 5 player in college, I’m up for National Player of the Year so I’m wondering why is it that I’m slipping.”

Some of the players picked ahead of him were Antawn Jamison, Carter, Jason Williams, and Nowitzki. Boston was on the board and they picked Pierce with the tenth pick despite not working out with them.

And the rest is history.

Pierce has become a ten-time NBA All-Star and went on play 15 seasons with Boston before winning the championship along with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2008 where he bagged the Finals MVP award. He also played a season for Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and a couple of seasons with the Clippers before hanging up his sneakers in 2017. His jersey was retired by Boston the following year.

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce was delighted to see his former team prosper against one of the NBA title favorites. In this picture, Former Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce #34 raises a banner retiring his number during a ceremony in his honor after a game between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Feb. 11, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images