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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Always a Jayhawk

Jayhawk student athletes who move to the "next level" continue to add to the KU basketball tradition.

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It may not be exactly like watching the Kansas Jayhawks celebrate a national basketball championship, but it still was a treat to see former Jayhawk Paul Pierce's boyish glee Tuesday night after the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship.

Kansas was well represented at the celebration. Pierce was named the most valuable player for the NBA finals. Former Jayhawk Jo Jo White received the same honor when he played for the Celtics in 1976 and was in the stands Tuesday night. On the bench because of injuries, Scot Pollard, another former Jayhawk also will wear a championship ring as a member of this year's Celtics team.

Pierce had paid his dues for this victory. He was disappointed to be picked so low in the NBA draft in 1998 and spent the next 10 years as the star without a supporting cast on a disappointing Celtics team. In 2000, he was in the wrong Boston club at the wrong time and was stabbed 11 times in an incident that could have ended his career or even his life.

This year, that all melted away, when two other top players joined the Celtics' roster to help Pierce out. The result was an NBA championship that ended with a blow-out game against rival Los Angeles Lakers.

After the game Pierce thanked the Celtics' fans, coaches and owners for "sticking with" him for the last 10 years. The fact that Pierce also "stuck with it" and kept working and improving for the sake of his team is a tribute to him and perhaps to the lessons he took from his time at KU with coach Roy Williams.

It's another chapter in the storied Jayhawk basketball tradition. Congratulations to Pierce and Pollard. You've represented your former university well.

Comments

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

It was fun to hear all the comments after the game about the selfless play of the C's - the example that was set by the big 3 but that also permeated throughout the team. It was de' ja vue to March Madness's fabulous finish.It Coach Self can't get Paul to come back and talk to next year's team, with all of the new players, in person, I hope he at least plays a tape of that game and celebration. My guess is he will do an even better job of communicating the vital message to the '08-09 Hawks, just as he did to the NC team.Rock Chalk!

hometownhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

We are the only school with 3 different Finals MVPs: Wilt, JoJo, and Paul.

JayCeph 9 years, 2 months ago

JoJo, Wayne, Jacque, Paul and Scott... more?Wilt never got a ring, right?

Gordon Penny 9 years, 2 months ago

How many former jayhawks have nba rings?

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 2 months ago

Wilt actually got 2 rings. One with the Sixers and one with the Lakers.It would be nice to see a complete list of former players who have gone on to win NBA Championships. I am sure that Self uses it in recruiting, but as fans, it would help us in the debate against the fans for the Dukies, Tar Heels and Kentucky Wildcats. If anyone knows any more 'Hawks with rings, share them with the rest of us.

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