Paul Pierce shows immense respect to LeBron for playing through injury

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce showed some major love to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James for playing through injuries in his NBA career.

“It’s no science to like if you rest you gon’ be less likely to get injured,” Pierce said. “And so I just say this, if you love the game, ain’t nobody telling me I can’t play tonight. That’s just – that’s just me. And I see that with just only certain people in the league, you know? And I never seen Bron – Bron don’t sit down.”

Pierce then told a story about James rolling his ankle and then returning to a game to catch a lob.

“I done seen Bron come into the Garden,” said Pierce. “I’m talkin’ ’bout he rolled this ankle like this. And I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, he fosho done for the night.’ Two minutes later he come back out there and catches a lob. And I’m like, ‘Damn, that’s crazy.’”

James has dealt with wear and tear on his ankle this season, but he’s still found a way to appear in 56 games for the Lakers. By playing in the team’s loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, James tied his second-highest game total with the Lakers in his career. His highest came in the 2019-20 season when appeared in 67 games for the team.

Pierce clearly believes that James loves to be out on the floor, and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer has shown that time and time again in his career. James is in his 21st season in the NBA, and he’s played in 75 or more games in 12 of those seasons.

Plus, the four-time champion had a stretch in his career where he made eight straight NBA Finals appearances, adding more wear and tear to his body. Yet, he has still found a way to suit up night in and night out – even at 39 years old.

Despite dealing with the lingering ankle injury that caused him to leave the Lakers’ game against the Sacramento Kings in the final minutes on Wednesday, James finished the game with 31 points, five rebounds and 13 assists.

Pierce and James were rivals during Pierce’s career – especially when the Hall of Famer was with the Boston Celtics. However, there is certainly a respect from Pierce for how James plays the game and the effort he gives on a nightly basis.

The Lakers are hoping that the 20-time All-Star can stay healthy enough to appear in most, if not all, of the team’s games down the stretch of the 2023-24 season. The Lakers are fighting for playoff positioning, as they currently hold the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.