Paul Pierce was in the NBA when “LeBron” was just LeBron James!
Paul Pierce discusses in his argument against LeBron that he left Cleveland for Miami to play on a super team before returning to Cleveland before landing in Los Angeles. Isn’t that true? But let’s take a closer look at the first exodus when he took his talents to South Beach.
Didn’t a Boston Celtics team featuring Paul Pierce upset LeBron’s Cavaliers team in the playoffs to make him leave? Since Pierce was one of the “Big 3” at the time, that would give him a up close and personal look at what was going on right?
Does Pierce’s reasoning make sense? Yes and no.
Yes, LeBron did leave Cleveland to go play for Miami without the second star needed to win an NBA title. Plus he never had the opportunity of playing with a Hall of Fame big-man (Shaq was done as a Cav by the way!) or another top-10 talent (All-time or current!) like Magic or Kobe.
That’s not Paul Pierce’s fault. Blame the Cleveland Cavaliers dysfunctional front office. Did Pierce play with a “Big 3”? Sure. But that’s because Danny Ainge was capable enough to build a team. Pat Riley is a genius, so he could figure it out as well. It’s common knowledge the LeBron James built teams are made using Pat Riley’s blueprint.
Most of the backlash is coming from fans with very short memories. People forget how much hate LeBron James got when he went to Miami. Then when he came up short and was blamed for the Finals loss against Dallas. This game the next year may have saved his legacy and standing to even have a Mount Rushmore discussion.
This was the turning point in the one on one rivalry between Paul Pierce and LeBron James. By the time the game was finished, Pierce was selling LeBron T-shirts and handing out his business cards. LeBron gave the Celtics 45 points and 15 rebounds in an elimination game on the road. The Heat closed out the series and won the NBA title and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
We could talk about the matchup when Pierce was in Brooklyn but it would accomplish basically what Paul’s defensive resistance did to James. Nothing.