As part of a five-part series taking a deeper look into mental health struggles among NBA players by ESPN's Jackie McMullan, Paul Pierce opened up about his struggles with depression during his career. Back on September 25, 2000, at Buzz nightclub in Boston, Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back and suffered a collapsed lung in the process. Miraculously Pierce played every game that 2000-01 season but said he battled with depression stemming from the attack throughout.
“I couldn’t be near crowds, [...] If I got in a crowded place, I’d start shaking inside. It took me years to get over that. If I was walking and someone bumped into me or rubbed against me, I’d freak out. [...] "I was stabbed 11 times, [...] I felt like I was trapped in a box. I couldn't go nowhere."
Pierce said depression haunted him that year and the solitude of his own home made it worse:
"I think that's the reason I got back on the court so fast. Me sitting at home thinking about (the stabbing) didn't work. I went to every practice, sat on the sideline for hours, because that's where I felt safe. I didn't want those practices to end because then I had to go back out there in this world that really scared me."