Paul Pierce Says If LeBron James Doesn't Win Championship, It Will Be A 'Big Hit On His Legacy'
Paul Pierce said if LeBron James doesn't win a championship with the Lakers this season, it will have an impact on his place in history.
"If they don't win this year, LeBron's not getting any younger, this is going to be a big hit on his legacy," Pierce said in an appearance on ESPN's First Take on Wednesday.
The top-seeded Lakers, who are a favorite to win the NBA title, were upset by the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first round playoff series on Tuesday, 100-93.
James, 35, finished with 23 points, a career-playoff high 16 assists and 17 rebounds, becoming the first player in NBA history to have at least 20 points, 15 assists and 15 rebounds in a postseason game.
But it wasn't enough against the Trail Blazers, who made three-straight three-pointers in the final 3 minutes and 13 seconds.
Pierce said if James, a three-time champion and four-time MVP, doesn't find a way to win a title this season, his reputation will take a dive.
“I’ve already said he’s not a top five player of all-time," Pierce said. "If the Lakers don’t win a championship, let alone lose in the first round, I don’t want to hear none of this GOAT talk no more.”
Pierce's words, however, should be taken with a grain of salt considering his history with James.
Kendrick Perkins told ESPN's NBA Countdown in May that they "hate" each other.
Perkins said it all started after James' first preseason game as a rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Boston Celtics in 2003, when Pierce trash-talked James and then spat toward the bench where he was sitting.
“It ended up turning up,” Perkins said. “After the game, both teams were meeting in the back. Guys were ready to fight. We had to hold people back. It went up from there. Ever since that moment, LeBron James and Paul Pierce hate each other. They don’t speak to each other, even now, today.”