81°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Paul Pierce Speaks in Clark Center

From+left+to+right%3A+Pierce%2C+Student+Trustee+Alexis+Marvel%2C+Chancellor+Motley%2C+and+Bob+Ryan
From left to right: Pierce, Student Trustee Alexis Marvel, Chancellor Motley, and Bob Ryan

Ever wonder why Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce is still able to be at the top of his game at age 35?

It’s not because the 10-time All-Star changed up his game. It’s not because the 2008 finals MVP puts up extra shots to become a better shooter. It’s because Pierce, who semi-retired sports journalist Bob Ryan refers to as “the greatest pure scorer in the history of the Boston Celtics” changed up his diet to give him the edge against defenders on every given night.

In hopes of having not only children, but other older adults, including his teammates to better their eating habits, Pierce founded the Truth on Health Foundation.

On Thursday, March 14th, for the UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Government Speaker series, Pierce sat on a panel in front of a packed gym at the Clark Athletic Center along with Boston Red Sox nutritionist Tara Mardigan and other sports figures in Boston, and they discussed topics about nutrition, sports, and leadership,with Ryan moderating. The event drew a record crowd to the newly renovated Center, including a hundred children from the local Boys and Girls Club as well as other organizations in the area who were invited by student body president Jesse Wright.

Wright said “two (of the kids), because of their GPAs, were given the opportunity to meet Pierce and hang out with him for a little bit before the event, we thought that would be really cool”; he added, “We were looking to get 800-1000 people for this event, I mean Ice-T drew 800, so how many are going to show up for Paul Pierce?”

Wright said that the reason he invited Pierce to come speak on campus was because the USG wanted an alternative to the politicians that they’ve had on campus recently and try to reach a group of students that they were previously unable to. He added that Pierce was very generous, and agreed to do the event for free. In comparison, Rob Gronkowski charges a five-figure fee when he speaks at local schools.

Wright said, “Last season was a huge political season, and we wanted to focus on a hot topic, and this year is the first year we’re doing this, we wanted to get away from the political scene and get into the demographics of students on campus that we haven’t hit yet. We brought in the athletes, the college of nursing, and anyone who is a Celtics fan by doing this panel.”

The event lasted for about an hour, with Pierce doing the majority of the speaking.

Pierce said, “I think the reason I started The Truth on Health was because it was the change that I made in my life, as I got older and I started understanding about being healthier, about being better, about living better.” He added, “I started changing the foods I eat, I started changing the way I rested and I saw a difference in my play, I saw a difference in my energy level and I was like wow, this is something that I could use to influence other people, other kids.”

“When you look around America, there’s not enough knowledge out there and there’s such an epidemic of childhood obesity and people not understanding what the right foods are, what’s healthy for you, what’s not healthy for you,” Pierce said.

Pierce explained how his bad eating habits were a result to the lack of knowledge he had about nutrition. Pierce made the change to better the way he eats around the age of 28, and he feels that the decision he made seven years ago is the reason that he is still able to go out and compete on a high level at 35.

“The Truth” said, “I think the change that I made has helped me have the longevity that I have today.” He then added “and you don’t see a lot of 35-year-olds in the league today playing at a high level, and I think that’s because of the change I made to my eating habits, my rest and the things that I’m doing on and off the court to preserve what I’m doing on the court. It’s made a huge difference.”

Pierce’s competitiveness motivated him to change his diet, but he also credited his children as a big reason why he took the big step to change his eating habits.

“I have two younger daughters, and so they’ve been my motivation. To tell you the truth, that’s kind of been what motivated me,” Pierce said.

The student body showed up in droves to hear one of the most beloved athletes in Boston speak on campus, and they left with some great stories, great advice, and hopefully, some inspiration.