I come across a lot of "On This Day" clips in my line of work and I have to say out of every one I've seen during quarantine, this is by far my favorite. Can you believe its already been 17 years to the day that Paul Pierce destroyed Al Harrington like that? Man does that make me feel old. Remember, this was right around the time Pierce really started to elevate his status as a true star in the league. The year before he made his first All Star team and 3rd Team All NBA averaging 26.1/6.8/3.2/1.9 on 44/40% splits in 82 games. He backed that up with 25.9/7.3/4.4/1.8 on 41/30% splits in 79 games in the 2002-03 season. Pierce once again made the All Star Team and 3rd Team All NBA. This was also a time where the Celts were actually showing signs of life after the dogshit years that were the 90s. It took a while for them to wash off the stink of the Pitino years and for a brief moment in those early 2000s that's exactly what happened.
Obviously things didn't work out all that great in the 2003 playoffs with them getting swept by NJ in the next round, and then in the 2004 playoffs they lost to the Pacers in the first round which led to things starting to go to shit. Whatever though, that doesn't take away from what an awesome moment that shot was.
If you look back at Pierce's Celtics career there are a lot of iconic moments. His performance in the comeback in 2002 against the Nets, the wheelchair incident in the 2008 Finals, his Game 7 battle with LeBron, all are great moments that will bring me joy until my last breath. But for me personally, that clip with Harrington is up there and might be my favorite Pierce moment of all time. This is a dude that made 1,823 threes as a member of the Celtics and yet it's this one that we probably remember most. The trash talk, the confidence, Harrington shoving his teammate out of the way, the ref telling them to stop, all concluding with Pierce burying the shot right in Harrington's face. This would have been a horrible look had Pierce missed the shot and I'm glad we live in a world where that's not the reality.
Also, Mike Gorman's call on that play makes it even better. It's why he's the GOAT. You can have your Mike Breen "BANG!", give me Gorman on the mic all day every day and twice on Sundays.