Fans are passionate about sports and their teams and rivalries. However, at the end of the day, for athletes and those who make a living out of it, sports are just a business, and the NBA isn't the exception to that rule.

More often than not, players are 'forced' to play for the teams that they hated the most when they were just fans and young hoopers trying to make it to the big league. If they get drafted by a team they dislike, they just need to take that one to the chin and be professionals.

That's exactly what happened to Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce, who actually grew up in California and was a diehard Los Angeles Lakers fan before being drafted by their lifelong rivals in 1998.

Paul Pierce Admits He Used To Hate The Boston Celtics

"I was a basketball fan and growing up in Los Angeles, Inglewood, down the street from the forum, I couldn't stand the Celtics. I hated the Celtics so much. I couldn't stand the rivalry, I hated Larry Bird, I hated just everything about the Celtics, so it's really ironic that I got drafted by the Celtics and played against the Lakers and win a championship against the Lakers. Like, it's just the irony," Pierce said a couple of years ago on ESPN.

"This is the thing, when I got drafted to the Celtics - when you grow in the West Coast, especially L.A, you hate the Boston Celtics - so, when I got drafted by the Celtics my friends were like 'What are you gonna do?' because my friends are from LA. It was so awkward," Pierce concluded.

 

Fast-forward to today and Paul Pierce is now one of the biggest modern icons in Boston Celtics history. They even retired his jersey, and he won a Finals MVP award by beating his childhood team Los Angeles Lakers. Oh, the irony.