Michael Carter-Williams has never technically met Paul Pierce. The Boston Celtics star did pass Carter-Williams by once when he was young, and that stuck with the Hamilton resident.
Soon, the two will cross paths on a basketball court somewhere, with Pierce playing for the Celtics, or some other team, and Carter-Williams playing for whichever team selects him in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft.
Carter-Williams has grown from a young Celtics fan looking for an autograph from the team’s best player to a 6-foot-6 point guard out of Syracuse University who is projected to be a lottery pick (top 14).
Even though the two remain strangers, Pierce encouraged people to follow Carter-Williams on Twitter three weeks ago, calling him “one of Massachusetts’ finest.”
“I never met Paul, but we have the same agent (Jeff Schwartz). The guys in the agency (Excel Sports Management) tease me because I told them when I was little I asked Paul Pierce for an autograph,” Carter-Williams said yesterday while waiting for the train that would carry him from Philadelphia to New York City.
“I think they had just lost and he might not have seen me, but I thought he ignored me. It wasn’t hatred, but I disliked him for a long time. When the agency found out they definitely brought it to his attention. They tease me about it and he gave me a shoutout.”
If his time playing for Syracuse legend Jim Boeheim in front of thousands of adoring fans at the Carrier Dome didn’t help Carter-Williams understand Pierce’s mental state that day many years ago, then the whirlwind pre-draft tour he just wrapped up surely did.
“I know it was a lot like that at Syracuse. They don’t have an NBA team, so the fans are pretty excited to see us,” Carter-Williams said. “I know that you can’t see everybody, you just gotta try to do your best. That’s all you can do.”