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Paul Pierce remains at the top of his game at age 35.WALTHAM, Mass. -- In addition to the wealth of individual accolades he's earned over the course of his 14-year NBA career, Paul Pierce has continued to defy league logic, remaining productive well into his 30s, past the prime of his playing days.
Though he's now 35, Pierce has yet to see significant drop-offs in any of the key areas he typically impacts for Boston. He's still the team's best 1-on-1 offensive player, a steady rebounder, and a stout defender. Pierce's longevity isn't the norm, but neither is his passion for the game, which he credits for helping him maintain a high level of play.
"I think you've got to have it in you. I think you've got to have a certain competitiveness in you, to want it," Pierce said after practice Thursday. "A lot of guys who are so talented throughout the years have fallen off, and I think they probably lose love for the game as they get older, as their talent diminishes.
"You really have to love the sport to be good for a long time. You've got to get the work in in the summer. It has to be in you. You see the guys where it's not in them. They don't do things that they did that made them the best player. They stopped doing them."
Pierce might be defying his age, but he's not denying it. He said he's seen changes in his offseason routine, particularly in recent years, that conform more to his body than to his game.
"Well you change up things, based on your age, and what you're capable of," Pierce explained. "I think I probably take more days off and rest my body, save some of the miles during the summer. But I do enough to be ready for training camp, to be prepared for the season, and I know what I need to do to be ready, and that's the key."
Though he knows retirement isn't too far off at this point, Pierce still finds himself in a position to chase a second championship. When asked to consider his goals for the remainder of his career, it came as no surprise when Pierce said another title rests at the top of the list.
"Well, I want to stay injury free, I want to be consistent in everything I do, and ultimately, try to win another championship," Pierce said. "That's pretty much the goal. I don't really have any individual goals outside of just staying healthy. But as far as earning something, it's going to be a championship. That's my goal. That's my career."