The longtime Boston Celtic and current member of the Brooklyn Nets was approached by a TMZ reporter while loading some water bottles into his car, and the reporter brought up the fact that the end of his career is approaching. Pierce would have none of it.
"Who says it's the end of my career? I plan on playing ten more years, dude."
How perfect an answer is that? Obviously, Pierce is joking, as there's no way he thinks he has another decade of professional basketball left in the tank. But good for him for refusing to acknowledge the end.
I mean, what else was he supposed to say? That he's definitely declining and might have one good season left before he's forced to pull the plug on his livelihood?
Just for fun though, let's take a look at what would happen if Pierce was still around in 10 years.
The small forward is 35 years old right now, and he'll turn 36 before the 2013-14 season starts. A decade from now, he'll be finishing up the season as a 45-year-old. While that may not seem too old for a normal human being, particularly an athletic specimen, only one player in the history of this league has played at age 45 or older.
Nat Hickey did so for the Providence Steamrollers back in the BAA days, playing one game in 1948 at age 46. He scored two points and went 0-of-6 from the field. Other than Hickey, Kevin Willis (44) and Robert Parish (43) are the oldest people to play professional basketball at the sport's highest level.
The list of the oldest players in basketball history is littered with big men. They don't lose their size, so they still have some semblance of value. Twenty players have made NBA appearances after hitting 40, and 14 of them were either true power forwards, true centers or some combination of the two positions.
Pierce is not.
So, I'll say what the TMZ reporter should have: Let's shoot for 40 before we think about 45, Paul.