Was Paul Pierce’s famed wheelchair incident all due to the need to visit the bathroom?
During Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals, the then-Boston Celtics star fell to the floor after guarding Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Holding his right knee in apparent agony, trainers quickly put Piece in a wheelchair and whisked him off the court.
But what seemed like an apparent injury led to head scratching when Pierce came sprinting out of the locker room and back into the game minutes later, eventually leading the Celtics to a win and ultimately to an NBA championship.
"When I came down I thought I felt a pop, I thought I tore it,'' Pierce told reporters after Game 1. But over the years an internet rumor The Ringers’ Jason Concepcion described it as “one of the weirdest and least-known NBA conspiracy theories” took hold: that Pierce was really being hurried off the court and into the bathroom.
Pierce, now ESPN’s entertaining but often-wrong studio analyst, discussed the rumor for the first time publicly on NBA Countdown ahead of Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors.
“I have a confession to make,” Pierce said. “I just had to go to a bathroom.”
The comments opened the floor to some potty humor from fellow analysts Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups, who unsuccessfully dug for details about the alleged incident.
“Something went down,” Pierce responded before host Michelle Beadle quickly moved on.
It’s unclear if Piece was telling the truth or just trolling fans. Following the game, Pierce confused matters more with a tweet that suggested his bathroom visit was centered around No. 1, not No. 2.
Pierce, who has struggled with his predictions this NBA postseason, picked the Raptors to beat the Warriors in six games. After their 123-109 win Wednesday, the Raptors are up 2-1 over the Warriors. Game 4 will tip off at the Oracle Arena in San Francisco Friday at 9 p.m.
During the third quarter of the Warriors-Raptors game, a light fell from the ceiling of the Oracle Arena, nearly taking out Sportsnet broadcaster Leo Rautins.
“I’m sitting here courtside. There is this light from the ceiling that came down and landed right here," Rautins said during the broadcast, pointing to the gap between him and the production’s stage manager. "If I leaned over this way, it’d be over, done.”
No one on the broadcast was harmed.
There’s been a great deal of speculation where NBA stars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving may end up playing next season. But according to Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, all the speculation is “crap” and reporters really have no clue where most free agents, including Sixers swingman Jimmy Butler, will end up.
During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, Barkley pointed out that many free agents would wait to see where Durant and Irving land before deciding where they’d like to play, noting that only teams with multiple stars can truly compete in today’s NBA.
“All these [players] are caught between a rock and a hard place. They can’t go anywhere by themselves,” Barkley said. “If you go to a team by yourself, the team is not going to be any good… you’re going to be making a lot of money on a bad team.”