Financiallysecure¬†when he retired in 1998 after 16 NBA seasons with eight teams, 6'4" swingman Ricky Pierce did what many 39-year-olds would love to do: Heplayed golf and tennis; he rode his five horses on his 10-acre ranch in SugarLand, Texas; and he spent time with his family--wife, Joyce, a former member ofthe R&B group the Fifth Dimension, and their three children. When Piercewent to the YMCA to watch his son Aaron play hoops, he also gave advice toparents eager to teach their kids the art of the jump shot. The player known asDeuces for his uniform number had hit his fair share of twos and threes,averaging 14.9 points on 49.3% shooting for his career.
Pierce came upwith the idea for the Accushot22, a specially designed basketball with 10 ovalindentations to indicate how and where to place the fingers. "A lot of kidstoday are shot-putting the ball," says Pierce, 47, the 1990 Sixth Man Awardwinner with the Bucks. "If you keep your palm off the ball, you get moreconsistency in your follow-through and are more accurate."
While Pierce runshis company as a for-profit venture--he has a five-man staff and sells theproduct for $37.95 at Accushot22.com--he also gives away hundreds of the ballsto underprivileged children. Each comes with a workbook that emphasizes notjust basketball fundamentals but self-motivation as well. "I've found mycalling," says Pierce. "I feel like this can help put kids on a pathwayof success in life."
From photography to film to flying-dog shows, theseformer athletes are shining brightly on a wide array of new stages
BILL FRAKES (PIERCE CURRENT)
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The Accushot22, developed by Pierce, guides shooters' fingers to the rightspots.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (PIERCE ACTION)