The Wizards' 2015-16 season was not fun, so let's talk about the previous one. Remember the 2015 playoff run? It had everything: beef with Drake, buzzer-beater euphoria and tragedy in the form of John Wall's broken hand.
At the center of it all was Paul Pierce, in his 17th NBA season at the time, lighting fires under butts and dropping clutch bombs when it counted. Now, he has filed to trademark "I Called Game," the catchphrase that cemented his status in Washington playoff lore.
Paul Pierce filed for the trademark to the phrase "I Called Game" last year. He should be the registered owner in the next couple months.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 9, 2016
For those who need reminding, the line originated in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Hawks. The Wizards had squandered a lead and found themselves tied at 101 apiece with 15 seconds left in regulation. They needed a miracle, and Pierce delivered in the form of a buzzer-beating bank shot despite being mobbed by multiple defenders.
The crowd went crazy, his Wizards teammates went crazy. It was madness.
As Pierce was leaving the floor, ESPN reporter Chris Broussard asked him if he called bank on that shot. "I called game," Pierce said. And that's why he's known as The Truth.
If only the Wizards and Pierce had kept winning in such magical fashion, but that's not the course of history. Washington couldn't overcome Wall's broken hand and didn't win another game in that series, falling to Atlanta in six. The team missed out on the playoffs entirely the following year.
After the 2015 playoffs, Pierce opted out of his contact with the Wizards to join the Clippers. He looked like a shell of The Truth in Los Angeles while posting career lows in nearly every statistical category. Now he's trying his hand at broadcasting and contemplating retirement.
Wizards Insider J. Michael wrote that Pierce was last himself in Washington. With this trademark he'll preserve a piece of that guy for the future.
Who wants a t-shirt?