LeBron James and Paul Pierce were big rivals while the King played in the Eastern Conference and The Truth was active. They had several duels both in the regular season and playoffs, but there is no doubt that LBJ was the winner in many of them.
The Boston Celtics were one of the biggest forces of the East after they put together Pierce with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Their success was immediate, winning the NBA championship in 2008 and becoming one of the best teams in the league. However, that changed when LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers and joined the Miami Heat in 2010.
A lot of people believe the main reason Bron left Cleveland was the Celtics domination in the East, and he was able to stop them twice in the playoffs while he was in South Beach. Even though he couldn’t get past Miami Bron, Pierce claimed he enjoyed facing the future Hall of Famer, contrary to what happens today.
“LeBron brought the best out of me. When you know you’re playing against the best, you know you have to bring best of you, because if you’re not, you’re gonna get embarrassed,” he said on ‘All The Smoke’ podcast.
“When I watch him [LeBron] today, others are scared of him. He put the fear on everybody. I’m like ‘what is going on here?’ I wasn’t having that. I wanted that challenge. I’m gonna take it [challenge of guarding LeBron]. I’m gonna guard you,” Pierce explained.
They did have great duels on the court, but when the fate of a series was on the line, there was nobody better than LeBron. Proof of that was Game 6 of the 2012 ECF when he posted 45 points and grabbed 15 rebounds on the road to tie the series before they took the 7th game and the right to play in the Finals.
There is no doubt we were in front of two great players who liked to face each other on the hardwoods, but the clear winner of the rivalry was LeBron.