Paul Pierce has taken to social media to remind his haters that Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant studied his game during their late years in the NBA.
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) August 27, 2023
Pierce has been an active poster lately in response to comparisons to his NBA contemporaries from the 2000s and 2010s. The 10-time All-Star spent 15 seasons with the Boston Celtics after being drafted in 1998. In total, he spent 19 seasons in the NBA and retired in 2017 to cap a career that overlapped with Bryant’s, who played for the Lakers from 1996 to 2016.
Pierce’s Celtics defeated Bryant’s Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, a series that went six games and saw Pierce named MVP. Bryant and the Lakers got their revenge in the 2010 NBA Finals in a seven-game series that saw Bryant win MVP honors.
Bryant in 2014 was 36 years old and returning from injury when he told Sports Illustrated that he was analyzing Pierce, also 36 at the time, as an example of how to adjust to the game while aging. The Lakers icon played 35 games in that 2014-15 season and averaged 22.3 points per contest. In his final season, he averaged 17.6 points per game in 66 appearances, famously ending with a 60-point game against the Utah Jazz.
Now 45 years old, Pierce is regularly interjecting himself into discussions about current and former NBA players. He has a very public ongoing beef with Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade, for example, and believes that he had a better career than the three-time champion.
Pierce unfortunately feels the need to constantly justify his worthy accomplishments long after the end of his career. Although he’ll never be able to garner all of the NBA championship rings he feels he deserves, he can take solace in the fact that one of the NBA’s all-time greats at one time used him as an example of how to be a better player.