A year from now, NBA veteran Paul Pierce will be former NBA veteran Paul Pierce. The future Basketball Hall of Famer will retire after next season and has begun to offer the unfiltered views on the world that come with (relative) old age. Here he is on his situation now as a Washington Wizard versus his 2014 season as a Brooklyn Net: "I'm much happier," he told ESPN. "It was a tough situation (in Brooklyn) last year. Horrible, really."
Anyway, with only one season left as a professional basketball player, Pierce imparted the type of wisdom he knows how as a 37-year-old that he wishes he knew as a 21-year-old rookie to the young players he mentors now as a Wizard, primarily the club's young backcourt tandem John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Pierce has traded Whoppers and Coke for sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, which Kevin Garnett introduced him to during their shared time on the Boston Celtics. He's pushed the Wizards' medical staff to purchase on for the team, and brings his own with him on the road for the playoffs.
"It's great for recovery,'' Pierce said. "It's definitely helped me. It's the size of a little coffin. You just get in it, zip it up and you're good. The first time I tried it felt like I was suffocating, like there was no air. But now I'm so used to it I'm asleep in a matter of minutes.''
While he speaks specifically to his teammates, Pierce's advice translates to all athletes.
"I keep telling Wall and Beal, 'You've got to make up your mind. Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great? Because if you want to be great, you gotta do it every single night, not just when you feel like it.'
"Both of those guys have the potential to be great. I love them. But sometimes I'm not sure they realize what it takes.