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Paul Anthony Pierce was born in 1977 in Oakland, California. He lived with his mother and two half-brothers, Jamal and Stephen. When the family moved to Inglewood, the children went to the local school, where they began playing sports. Their mother encouraged her sons' aspirations. Stephen chose baseball, and the other two preferred basketball. Paul admired the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. His idol was Magic Johnson.
"That was the beginning for me, just watching the Lakers and the Celtics battle in the finals. It was like the birth of basketball for me. I was a little kid - 6, 7 years old. At my uncle's house, the TV was so small I'd sit on the floor beside it to see the game," Paul recounted.
When Pierce made the Sentinels' team in high school, he was only 175 cm tall and also overweight. So the athlete was often left on the bench. Although he had talent, according to coach Pat Roy, he didn't fit the game very well because he didn't fit the anthropometric requirements. The opportunity to get on the court came when most of the older players went on vacation. Paul grabbed the opportunity with both hands and impressed his coach in his first start, tallying 12 points and 7 rebounds. Soon the basketball player grew to 5'9".
In 1995, Paul was named California's MVP. He played in the McDonald's All-American Game along with future NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury and Antoan Jamison. Pierce was a contestant in the Slam Dunk Contest, which Carter won. After that, he received offers from several colleges. The basketball player preferred not to be away from home, so he enrolled at the University of Kansas to major in forensic science.
During his studies, Paul played for the Kansas Jayhawks. During the 1996/1997 season, he helped the team achieve results it had never seen before. For the first time in history, the Jayhawks finished first in the nation. As a sophomore, Pierce won the first of two Most Valuable Player awards at the Big 12 Conference Tournament, averaging 21.7 points. In 1997-98, Pierce won Most Valuable Player awards at both the Preseason NIT and Big 12 Conference Tournament. After that, the basketball player went to the NBA Draft.