In less than an hour, the Brooklyn Nets will tip off in Miami against the 2-time defending champion Heat. For Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett it’ll be a chance to exact some revenge on LeBron James and his teammates for eliminating their Celtics in 2011 and 2012. But Pierce says any dislike of James stems from their on-court battles; it’s not a personal thing — though the two aren’t going out to movies together.
While James and the Heat ended Boston’s attempts to capture a second title before KG and Pierce were dealt this past summer, it was Pierce and the Celtics who ended James’ attempts at the Larry O’Brien trophy when he was with Cleveland. Pierce’s role as competitor is just that. In the end, it’s just basketball for Pierce, even if people want to make more of his rivalry with James:
Per ESPN New York:
Pierce says it’s only natural that there’s some dislike between the two former Celtics and James. The Nets swingman, though, says it’s not anything personal.
“I think it is more of a basketball thing,” Pierce said before the Nets’ shootaround prior to Game 1, when asked if there is any dislike between him and James. “We are aiming for the same prize and only one of you can get it, you know?”
“I mean, it’s going to be a dislike there,” Pierce continued. “That’s nothing that has carried over off the court. I think everything — the dislike for me, LeBron, or Miami or Cleveland — it’s all based on what we are both chasing, and that is about it.”
We got a chance to talk with Pierce this past summer, and for all his tenacity on the court, he just wants to win. That’s the only thing that might drive ill feelings towards ‘Bron. James and the Heat are the biggest roadblock to the “legacy you leave behind,” which is all Pierce and KG are trying to do at this stage of their careers following multiple all-star nods and the hardware afforded all-time greats.
In an age of hype and drummed up beef between players, it’s nice to see a future hall-of-famer put it all in perspective. Make no mistake, KG and Pierce are going to try and cut the hearts out of the Heat at 7 p.m. ET tonight on TNT, but off the court, Pierce just wants to kick it with his family.
What do you think?
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