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Paul Pierce opens up about his relationship with LeBron James

paul pierce vs lebron

Paul Pierce recently opened up about his relationship with his longtime rival LeBron James and how the media wrongly interpreted his comments about LeBron throughout the years. The respect is real, and Pierce wants to set the record straight on why he admires LeBron and how everyone got the wrong idea about their relationship.

Pierce is missunderstood about his criticism towards LeBron

One of the biggest rivals in LeBron's career has to be Paul Pierce when you consider the number of games they played against each other. During his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, LeBron faced off against the Boston Celtics led by Pierce numerous times in the regular season as well as the playoffs. The duo gave us some of the most memorable individual performances, often going toe to toe, but LeBron came on top the majority of times in those matchups.

There was a lot of trash-talking between Pierce and LeBron when they played against each other, and even after Pierce ended his career, he often took subtle jabs at LeBron on several occasions. Remember, before he got fired by ESPN, Pierce worked as an analyst, which means you have to have hot takes, and LeBron is always in the center of attention. Pierce never held back on making various types of comments, often negative towards LeBron, which created an image of him being a hater and jealous of LeBron's success.

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In an interview with Celtics All Access on CLNS, Pierce elaborated how that is not the case and felt honored to play against LeBron. He argues that the best players in NBA history received the most criticism because of their apparent greatness, and LeBron is on that level, being one of the best to play this sport.

I have nothing against LeBron James. We had our battles, and we had some great battles. I appreciate being able to face a guy of that caliber, a guy that people consider the greatest of all time or right there. People only hear the negative things I've said, and in my eyes, they are not negative. Some people just deserve more criticism than others, and when you are chasing the GOAT spot, you are going to get more criticism, and people act like Jordan didn't get criticism.

Paul Pierce, via Celtics All Access on CLNS

The respect between the two is real

The media likes to portray a particular narrative, and in this case, it was a negative one about the relationship between Pierce and LeBron. That is why Pierce emphasized that he often credited LeBron being one of the best players in NBA history and definitely someone who belongs in the GOAT conversation.

What people didn't hear was that when he won his last championship, I put LeBron as the number two greatest player of all time, but people don't want to hear that. They only hear the stuff I say, like ohh if they lose in the first round, I don't ever want to hear him in the GOAT conversation, or he is just a LeBron hater. But they don't hear the praise I gave this man over the years. Screw those people because people only want to hear the negative aspects, but I always give LeBron his due respect.

Paul Pierce, via Celtics All Access on CLNS

It's good to hear Pierce speak about this issue he faced, the looming misunderstanding about his relationship with LeBron, and what he really felt about him as a player. There is no point in pushing a narrative of an existing beef, hate, or whatever you want to call it between these two legends. Pierce knows all that was left on the basketball court when they were really going at each other, competing in a way true athletes are supposed to compete.

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