Former All-Star forward Paul Pierce had his fair share of battles with Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James during his career.
Despite the fact that James averaged 29.3 points per game over his career when playing against Pierce, the longtime Celtic doesn’t believe James is a top five player of all time.
“It all came from ‘The Last Dance’ episode 10 when it was towards the end and they went back to a clip to Michael Jordan when he said, ‘I want to build up an organization similar to the Boston Celtics are, what the 76ers are and we all know what the Lakers tradition is,’” Pierce said on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown.”
“All of the great players built up their tradition of their organizations. Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Magic [Johnson]. Kobe [Bryant] and Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) continued the tradition winning three together, two more for Kobe on his own.
“[Larry] Bird continued the tradition with the Boston Celtics, winning three there. Jordan started the tradition in Chicago, six there. Tim Duncan, the [San Antonio] Spurs weren’t even on the map until Tim Duncan got there. He built up that organization.”
James has played for three organizations in his career, with two stops in Cleveland, one with the Miami Heat and now the Lakers.
“So, when I go back, and I talk about these players and the top five players who not only built up organizations or helped continue the organization’s tradition, a la Kobe, I go back and I ask myself, ‘What has LeBron did to build up any organization?’” Pierce asked.
Pierce argued that James instead went to Miami to put a team together and then did the same when he returned to Cleveland.
“Then he went to the Lakers where a tradition has already been made,” Pierce said. “That still is to be continued.”
While Pierce may not believe James continued or created an organization’s tradition, he did end the city of Cleveland’s 52-year professional sports championship drought in 2016.