It's not a secret that Paul Pierce isn't a fan of LeBron James. Throughout his career in the NBA, he made sure that everybody know that he didn't like him and that he was going to play twice as hard when the Boston Celtics faced James.
James hasn't really acknowledged that rivalry as such, which is maybe one of the things that infuriate Pierce the most. As a matter of fact, he said he was glad about being fired from ESPN because he had to take about LeBron all the time.
But, where did all this hate came from? Why was Pierce so obsessed with taking down LeBron James or trying to demeanor his legacy? NBA insiders Frank Isola and Chris Mannix tried to explain it.
NBA Insiders Dig Deep Into Paul Pierce's Hate For LeBron James
“His rivalry with LeBron actually helped his Hall of Fame case because he beat him twice in playoffs. It was also good for the sport that you had that outspoken guy in the Celtics. He was like I’ll take on LeBron, I’ll go after him, I’m not afraid of him," said Isola.
“I don’t think there was much of a personal beef between Paul and LeBron. But he (Paul) didn’t like that LeBron was knighted, that he was right away King James in high school. And part of that was because Paul had to earn it every step of the way. He was the 10th pick in the draft… But from Day 1, Paul earned it. From the draft, from overcoming a stabbing incident, like he had to pay his dues before he achieved a certain status… and LeBron didn’t. That fueled part of the rivalry," added Mannix.
They also said that the Celtics didn't always respect LeBron. They saw him as a stat-padder and a soft player earlier in his career, which is why Pierce was even madder about all the fame and hype around him:
“Some of the Celtics thought LeBron, especially during his years in Cleveland, was a little soft, was a little focused on numbers… I don’t think they respected him as much they did in the later years. From Paul’s point of view, knowing that LeBron is the next thing before he knew anything, that always stuck with him," Mannix concluded.
At the end of the day, that further cements the narrative of Pierce being jealous of LeBron. They were never -- and will never be -- on the same tier, which is ok; so maybe Paul should just let this go.
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