In a recent interview, Nike CEO Phil Knight announced that he had given LeBron James $2.5 million to help the NBA star’s school for underprivileged children in Ohio. The announcement came just days after James donated $1 million of his own money to public schools in Cleveland.

For the most of his NBA career, Paul Pierce wasn’t simply a member of the Boston Celtics; he was the Boston Celtics. Pierce was the captain of one of the league’s most storied teams, and he guided the Cs to tremendous success. He also understood how to get the most out of his colleagues, particularly young players looking for a chance to play.

According to former Boston player Tony Allen, Pierce reportedly gave Celtics rookies a $200 “bounty” every dunk during the NBA Summer League.

On the Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce and Tony Allen faced difficulties together.

Former Boston Celtics players Tony Allen and Paul Pierce in 2008.

Former Boston Celtics players Tony Allen and Paul Pierce in 2008. On May 26, 2008, Boston Celtics’ Tony Allen (left) and Paul Pierce react during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. | Getty Images/Elsa

Paul Pierce helped the Celtics become one of the greatest teams in the league after being selected 10th overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. After missing the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, Pierce was named to his first All-Star team in 2001-02. He averaged 26.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

He also played an important role in the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Pierce and Antoine Walker, who averaged 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game that season, led a strong Boston squad. In the conference finals, the Cs even took a Jason Kidd-led New Jersey Nets squad to six games, but fell short of reaching the NBA Finals.

The Celtics then went on to lose in the conference semifinals and first round the next two seasons, and Walker was ultimately transferred in 2003. The Cs subsequently lost in the first round again in 2004-05, before going on to be one of the league’s worst teams the following season.

Tony Allen made his debut in 2004-05. As a result, he and Pierce found themselves on some bad teams together, with Boston going 33-49 in 2005-06 and then 24-58 the following season. Those difficulties undoubtedly linked them, but Allen recalls the first moment he and Pierce began to connect during his rookie season.

The Truth gave a $200 ‘bounty’ to Celtics rookies for each dunk.

Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce after winning Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals.

Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce after winning Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference semifinals. On May 18, 2008, Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics celebrates his team’s victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. | Getty Images/Jim Rogash

By the time Tony Allen joined the league, Paul Pierce had already begun to make a good living with the Celtics. As a result, he had some money to spare for some newbies wanting to make a quick profit.

“I’ll be honest, when I initially went there, we got a bond off the rip. Allen told The Athletic, “I watched him in Summer League.” “… He wanted to energise his soldiers. He had a bounty on his head, a hefty $200 for every dunk. Being a fan, I had to look at him right away. I initiated the conversation. This, I reasoned, is my application to begin. I took advantage of the situation. I had a run of five dunks in a row. “Have that thousand for me,” I remarked at halftime.”

So, was Allen compensated? 

“He kept his word. According to The Athletic, he added, “He handed me like $2,500.”

That incident may have been the catalyst for Pierce and Allen’s close friendship.

Allen told The Athletic, “Then he began working out in Chicago with (trainer) Tim Grover.” “He forced me to go to the gym every morning. One of the things dad taught me was that if you want to be successful in this business, you have to work behind the scenes.”

The effort was rewarded.

The Celtics subsequently won an NBA title with Paul Pierce and Tony Allen.

The Celtics’ troubles were short-lived. During the 2007 offseason, Boston added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, making them instant championship contenders.

During the 2007-08 season, the Celtics finished 66-16, and after two seven-game series in the first round and Eastern Conference semifinals, Boston defeated the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference finals before playing Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

During the Finals, Pierce averaged 21.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, as he helped Boston defeat LA in six games. He was also named Finals MVP.

He and Tony Allen won the NBA championship after combining for 57 victories in two seasons.

Pierce has one of the most intriguing characters in basketball, and he may have gone so far as to give his colleagues $200 for a dunk. The Truth, on the other hand, understood how to inspire his team and delivered when it counted most.

Paul Pierce is a living icon in the NBA.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

RELATED: Paul Pierce Only Became a Legend in Boston Because Dirk Nowitzki Wasn’t Available: ‘Well, if He’s There, Just Don’t Worry About What We Know or Don’t Know’

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