For years, the NFL has been criticized for its lack of diversity. Yet, as a black quarterback and football player, Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice in America is now seen as a watershed moment that led to the first NFL team signing an African-American quarterback.

It Motivated Me Every Day is a blog post written by an athlete who has been through some tough times. The article discusses how the sport of sports helped him to get out of his depression and how he motivates himself every day with his love for the game. Read more in detail here: motivate yourself.

Paul Pierce’s career was full with ups and downs. Pierce entered the 1998 NBA Draft following his junior season at Kansas, long before any all-star games, famous fights with LeBron James, or a wheelchair incident that had nothing to do with lower body “injuries.” The 21-year-old was widely anticipated to be a top-five selection, but he didn’t go off the board until the 10th round, when he was selected by the Boston Celtics. Pierce, on the other hand, put his draft-day fall to good use.

The Inglewood native had all the drive he needed even before stepping onto an NBA court. What began as a disappointment 23 years ago has evolved into a 19-year NBA career and a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.

In the 1998 NBA Draft, Paul Pierce was projected to be a top-five selection.

Paul Pierce used a draft-day slide as motivation to win the 2008 NBA Championship as he holds up the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Paul Pierce used a draft-day slide as motivation to win the 2008 NBA Championship as he holds up the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce celebrates his team’s victory against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Pierce started 38 games for the Jayhawks during his junior season. With a 51.3/35.5/69.7 slash line, he averaged 20.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-6 forward, a proven scorer at the collegiate level, was predicted to go as high as No. 3 overall. Pierce fell considerably farther than expected in the 1998 selection, which was a wacky experiment in NBA scouting in and of itself.

The Los Angeles Clippers selected Pacific University center Michael Olowokandi first overall. Other well-known college players, like as Arizona’s Mike Bibby and North Carolina’s Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter, began to hear their names shouted. Raef LaFrentz, Pierce’s collegiate teammate, also placed in the top three.

Robert “Tractor” Traylor, Jason Williams, and Larry Hughes were ranked 6-8. Before Boston halted Pierce’s rapid slide, Dirk Nowitzki was ranked eighth overall.

When questioned about Pierce’s draft-day fall by Chris Mannix in a story on, the Celtic legend’s coach at Kansas, Roy Williams, was as perplexed as anyone:

“I believe some people regarded Paul with suspicion, wondering whether he was athletic enough. I believe there were concerns about his ability to score in the NBA as he did in college.”

Roy Williams, a former Kansas coach, explains why Pierce was not selected in the NBA Draft in 1998.

Pierce went right to work, eager to show the league that he had been ignored.

Due to a lockout, the NBA missed the first half of the regular season in 1998. Pierce took use of the additional time he had before arriving to Celtics training camp to improve on his skills.

Even when three-pointers weren’t popular, the California native scored 16.5 points per game and shot 45.1 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three on 4.3 attempts a game in his first season.

“It shifted me into a different gear. I took a more ruthless approach. It kept me going every day. “Every single f***** day.”

Pierce on how he plans to use his dismal draft day as a springboard for his NBA career.

Pierce’s eventual Boston coach, Doc Rivers, was the head coach of the Orlando Magic at the time. According to the same article on, Rivers stated what everyone was thinking – the rookie forward looked sluggish, overweight, and unathletic:

“How is a big, unathletic man f***ing killing us?” I said. But then you see that he wasn’t overweight at all; in fact, he was in excellent condition. He was a world-class athlete. But he was so fundamentally sound that his athleticism was frequently overlooked.”

Doc Rivers, a former Celtics coach, discusses meeting Pierce in his first season.

During his decade-and-a-half career, The Truth averaged 19.7 points per game. Pierce averaged more than 20 points per game in seven of the following eight seasons after scoring 25.3 points per game in his third year in the league. When the Celtics added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, it was the franchise veteran who led Boston to the 2008 NBA Championship, earning finals MVP honors.

Pierce is the first player from the 1998 draft to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Nowitzki will almost certainly be remembered as the best player selected in the 1998 draft. However, he is not a member of the Hall of Fame.

Pierce is now in charge.

Pierce ranks second or third in the 1998 draft class in virtually every statistic — games played, minutes played, total points, total rebounds, assists, and win shares. He even defeated Nowitzki to the NBA title.

Pierce’s selection as the 10th overall choice in the 1998 draft was a mistake made by nine other teams, but it was the spark for what would become a Hall of Fame career.

Basketball-Reference provided all statistics and draft information.

RELATED: Ben Wallace Will Be the Lowest PPG Scorer in the Hall of Fame, But He Thinks He’s ‘Tailor-Made’ for Today’s NBA

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