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After spending the last 17 years balling on the East Coast with the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards, Paul Pierce — a native of Inglewood, Calif. — has finally returned to the West Coast, signing a three-year, $10 million deal to rejoin former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers. Like many new additions and returning heroes before him, Pierce was invited by his new/old town's baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday night's game against the Oakland A's, which the Dodgers had christened "Clippers Night."
For the 37-year-old shot-maker, it would, somewhat regrettably, be a night to remember.
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Let's take a closer look at that, via slow-motion instant replay:
OK, well, that's not ideal. Not 50 Cent bad, but still, not exactly the way Pierce drew it up. We'll give the veteran some time to come up with what he feels is the appropriate emoji/clip art to convey his feelings after the toss, though if we may be so bold, we'd suggest 😞 or perhaps 📉.
Then again, there's a decent chance that Pierce was trying to take a little something off here. (Even if he didn't call "bank.") After all, the last time he took the mound for a ceremonial first pitch — at Fenway Park, after the Celtics won the 2008 NBA championship — an amped-up Truth fired one high and outside of the reach of Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek:
Sometimes, in an attempt to correct the mistakes of the past, we overcompensate. Sorry, Paul. Maybe work on finding a happy medium over the next seven years, and come back in 2022 to send one right down the middle.
While it's probably fair to assume that at least some of the boos that cascaded down upon Pierce were specifically targeted at his short-hop, it likely also had quite a bit to do with the colors the prodigal son has chosen to rock upon his return. Even when toting his adorable son, Chris Paul has felt the sting of anti-Clipper sentiment in Chavez Ravine more than once; after decades of purple-and-gold dominance, L.A. is still, for the most part, a Lakers town, even if the recent past and present very clearly favor the Clippers, who have made the playoffs for four straight years and, with DeAndre Jordan back in the fold alongside new additions Pierce, Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith, figures to once again rank among the top contenders for the Western Conference title.
We're guessing the boos didn't bother Pierce too much, though. He's got an awful lot of experience making Lakers fans angry.
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