All-Star on the Court, Pierce Honored as Children’s Hospital Champion

He's a star on the court for the Boston Celtics, but tonight, Paul Pierce will be honored for being a Champion to Boston area children.

Children's Hospital Boston will honor Pierce tonight with their 2006 Champion Award at their annual Champions for Children event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Pierce will be joined by his entire team, as well as Celtics Managing Partner and Governor Wyc Grousbeck and Celtics Women's Group Co-Chair Corinne Grousbeck.

Paul Pierce

"The Boston Celtics are extremely proud of Paul and the job he does in giving back to our community," Wyc Grousbeck said. "Children's Hospital Boston is one of the focus partners of our Shamrock Foundation and Paul has been one of our greatest champions in helping aid the hospital and many other children's charities across New England."

Before Monday's game against the Orlando Magic, Pierce said he's honored by the award but also pointed out that he's not alone in being worthy of praise.

"It's a special award, but it's not only given to me, it's given to my teammates and my family, because I think that's where it all comes from, and they make me want to give back to my community," said Pierce.

While professional athletes are often asked for money and Pierce is no stranger to charitable contributions, there's a deeper level of commitment to his involvement with the kids at Children's Hospital Boston.

"A lot of times, in the position we're in, people ask you for money to try to help," said Pierce. "In this case, it's all about your time, and that's more genuine than anything else."

Pierce also knows what it is like to be alone in the hospital. The victim of a stabbing assault in September of 2000, Pierce was nearly killed, making encounters with ailing children very poignant and personal for him.

"It's an experience that really humbles you. These kids really look up to us, and it's really worth it to see a smile on their face. People don't understand, that can go a long way," said Pierce. "I remember my time when I was stabbed, and I was in the hospital, I think that thing that really got me through was the letters, flowers and people coming by to say hi. I think those are the things that get people through."

In addition to spending time with Children's Hospital patients and supporting hospital initiatives through the Shamrock Foundation, Pierce visits Boston area elementary schools each month as the NBA and Celtics spokesperson for the "Read to Achieve" program, and he hosts 34 local children at every Celtics home game.

In the off-season, Pierce's efforts in the community have raised thousands of dollars for various youth groups in the Boston area. Pierce hosts an annual celebrity softball game that raises more than $200,000 for local charities, including the Boys & Girls Club and the Mayors Scholarship Fund. The game draws a wide array of top athletes and entertainers, including Hollywood stars Matt Damon, Tara Reid, Shannon Elizabeth and Joey McIntyre.

In May 2002, Paul founded The Truth Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of disadvantaged children not only in Greater Boston but also in his hometown of Inglewood, California. The organization seeks to provide mentoring, technology and educational opportunities while at the same time providing a stable and safe environment. For the past four years, The Truth Fund has given hundreds of children educational and life-enriching opportunities.

Past recipients of the Champion Award include New England Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light, Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and former Boston Celtics point guard JoJo White.

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