Shaq explains how he gave Paul Pierce his 'The Truth' nickname

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics

Nicknames in the NBA often take on a life of their own, driving marketing, slogans and even narratives at times. 

There's no question that Paul Pierce will go down as one of the greatest of his generation. His career is coming to a close as the Los Angeles Clippers cling on for their lives against the Utah Jazz, but Pierce's legacy will live on.

It doesn't hurt that he has one of the best nicknames, either. Whether you love or hate Pierce, "The Truth" is a great nickname. It's short, sweet and isn't a play off of his initials and jersey number. We have Shaquille O'Neal to thank for christening Pierce with it over a decade ago.

Shaq gave his story of how "The Truth" came to be in a featured post the NBPA promoted as Pierce's career winds down. It occurred on March 13, 2001, when Pierced dropped 42 points on Shaq and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

"I noticed he wasn’t just like everybody else. He was just hard to guard. And I was just, like, 'Man, this dude is the truth!' So after the game I pulled aside Celtics beat writer Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, I looked him in the eyes and pointed to his pad.

"And I said, 'Take this down. My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.'"

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers

Shaq goes on to refresh our memories about the fact that he also gave Tim Duncan his "The Big Fundamental" nickname that stuck with him, as well as Kevin Garnett's "The Big Ticket." He even explained how "The Big Ticket" came to be. 

"There was nothing to do in Minnesota but go watch him," Shaq said of creating Garnett's signature nickname. 

The Big Diesel may be the king of nicknames in the NBA, and not just for naming other players. He's got more nicknames than any other player in NBA history. Shaq thinks something, says it once, and runs with it like it's the next big thing. 

Pierce certainly spent his career proving that he's The Truth, though, and it's a great nickname for one of the greatest scoring wings in the past 20 years. His 19-year career was filled with buckets, and that's the truth of the matter. 

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