As the Miami Heat prepare for their third consecutive NBA Finals appearance in an effort to claim back-to-back championships, the league’s MVP is talking rivals.
You might think LeBron James would characterize the likes of Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant especially, as his greatest rival, but not so fast. In an interview with NBA TV’s Ahmad Rashad, LeBron claims that Boston Celtics veteran star Paul Pierce holds that title. If you stop and think about it — it’s really not that farfetched.
“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce,” James said. “I would say Boston is a rival of mine because I’ve met them so many times in the postseason. I’ve been able to advance against them, they’ve sent me home fishing a few times. So I would say Boston and Paul Pierce would kind of be that guy, if I had to name just one guy.”
The Celtics have been a cog in James’ pursuit of an NBA title dating back to his days as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. James has got past Boston in year’s past, but last year was a real turning point, not just for his legacy, but also for his rivalry with Pierce. Trailing 3-2 heading to Boston for Game 6, LeBron went off for 45 points and 15 rebounds, helping the Heat win back-to-back games and advance to the NBA Finals.
You can even go way back to his Cleveland days when LeBron scored 45 points in what ironically enough became his final game as a Cavalier. Pierce however, scored 41 and the Celtics won.
Durant or Kobe might be LeBron’s biggest competition in terms of the league’s top player, but Pierce is his greatest rival.
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