LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Paul Pierce said Sunday he departs the NBA with ‘‘no regrets’’ despite the bitter disappointment of the Los Angeles Clippers first-round playoff loss to the Utah Jazz.
‘‘I really enjoyed myself with this group this year. Regardless of what happened today with the basketball, I’m happy,’’ he said.
‘‘What I’ve been able to accomplish, what I’ve been able to do with my career, I gave every ounce I could. I have no regrets.’’
After the retirements of Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, the NBA is bidding farewell to another star of the 2000s in Pierce.
The 39-year-old won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and competed for another in the NBA Finals.
But his bid to recapture that magic with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles – where he signed with the Clippers as a free agent prior to the 2015 season – didn’t pan out.
But he was hailed by his peers as one of the greats.
‘‘Paul Pierce is ‘The Truth’’’ Bryant told The Players’ Tribune website – a nod to Pierce’s nickname.
A video tribute on the website featured Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Oscar Robertson and an emotional Kevin Garnett, Pierce’s teammate in Boston and Brooklyn, among others.
Pierce later tweeted his thanks.
‘‘Thanku to all my NBA brothers and sisters associated with the game a game Ive loved my whole life but now ready for a new chapter stay tuned,’’ he posted on the social media site.
Pierce leaves the game with 26,397 career points, the 15th-most on the league’s all-time scoring list.