Dueling blogs: The Paul Pierce Saga
Before I get started, I need to give Matt his due. His blog was actually incredibly written and his Editor in Chief is thrilled to know that he has installed Grammarly on his laptop. He put more effort and research into his blog than I ever will on any piece of writing.
As much as Paul Pierce doesn’t need a 19-year-old blogger defending him, I’m here to do it anyways. From claiming he was a better player than Dwyane Wade (yes that’s how you spell it), to saying he was a better shooter than Klay Thompson, The Truth is no stranger to hot takes. Maybe it stems from being one of the most underrated players of the last 20 years, but Pierce still has the competitive chip on his shoulder that made him one of the greatest players in Celtics history. The great Shaquille O’Neal gave him the name “The Truth” after he dropped 42 on Kobe’s head with only 19 shots. A month before the 2000 season, Pierce was stabbed 11 times and still played 82 fucking games. There’s no doubt Pierce is one of the grittiest players in Boston sports history.
Now that I’ve blown enough smoke up Pierce’s ass, let’s dive into the most recent “hot take”. This morning on Zoom, Pierce gave his top 5 NBA players of all time and left out LeBron James. While the LeBron lovers were scouring twitter trying to besmirch The Truth’s good name, reason was left to the wayside. Firstly, the top 10 NBA players played in completely different eras and throwing a fit because someone had a player 6 instead of 5 in THE GREATEST PLAYERS IN ALL OF BASKETBALL HISTORY is absolute bullshit. We’re talking about Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant. Nearly every one of these players has a real argument to be considered top two of all time, (sorry Kobe), but Pierce has thrown everyone into a quarantine induced Twitter fit.
I love ya Matt, but if this is the reason you don’t respect Paul Pierce, then maybe you weren’t a fan to begin with. I’ve never had more respect for someone than I did for Pierce after reading he faked an injury because he shit himself in the NBA finals and no one found out for ten years. This was a 200 IQ move that he doesn’t get enough respect for. I mean, PP was out here playing chess while the entire world was playing checkers. When you eat a questionable dinner and play in a white uni, you need to have your head on a swivel. This move alone made number 34 one of the all-time greats. Now Kendrick Perkins is saying that Pierce hated LeBron so much that he spit at him before a game. This is all time petty and I’m absolutely here for it. #thisleague
Of course people that started watching basketball in 2014 and can’t name a Warrior before Steph Curry would say that Pierce and LeBron weren’t rivals but this couldn’t be further from The Truth. Their head to head record? 43-42 in favor of LeBron, with most of these wins coming with LeBron on a superteam and Pierce well past his prime. Paul Pierce led the team that had LeBron running out of Cleveland so fast he couldn’t even make it to his locker. In 2010, Pierce went head to head with LeBron and completely shut him down en route to wins in games 4, 5, and 6.
Sure, The Truth is prone to hyperbole, but if this is the only fault of an NBA player, who gives a fuck? Pierce was quoted as saying “I don't think Kobe is the best player. I'm the best player. There's a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don't cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself". This is the killer instinct you need to go from not making varsity as a sophomore in high school to being the MVP of the NBA finals. If you don’t see your own hype then who will?
Pierce has never been one to allow his spotlight to fade and his electric takes led him to a deal with ESPN after his playing career. If you lose respect for one of the all-time greats because of a fucking jacket and some poopy shorts then that’s on you. The second-leading scorer in Celtics history doesn’t need your approval and he never will.
Was Pierce correct this morning? Yes. Will he go on to have a more ridiculous take tomorrow? Probably, but that’s what makes the greats great. You always come back for more.