'Somebody Has to Be the Villain,' Says Celtics Legend on LeBron Rivalry

It's no secret that Paul Pierce and LeBron James have a love-hate relationship on the basketball court, as the two squared off in multiple battles when the Boston Celtics met the Cleveland Cavaliers throughout the regular season and playoffs.Despite the fact that the two has had multiple heated battles, Pierce believes their off-court rivalry has been exaggerated. Pierce discussed to Michelle Beadle on the What Did I Miss? program how his harsh comments are the only ones people remember."People only hear the horrible things I've said about LeBron, but they don't hear the great things I've said about LeBron because, you know, negativity stays." Negativity will constantly cling to you. I've already stated that he's second to Jordan, but people don't hear that."Despite Pierce's prior remarks about the self-proclaimed king, the Celtics star insists that he has always admired James off the court. "They watch at our wars, so what? Is it expected of me to like a guy—no, I didn't like anyone on the court. Do I admire him? Of course, I love and honor what he's done for the game, the longevity he's been able to deliver and the shows he's been able to present us, the remarkable athleticism over the years."

'No One Likes the Boston Celtics,' says Pierce.

It's true that the Boston Celtics aren't everyone's favorite team. In reality, the majority of people like watching them struggle. People love to see you fail when you have a history as dominant and prestigious as Boston's; Pierce realized this and relished his role as the villain in the eyes of most NBA fans.

"Listen, hardly one likes the Boston Celtics anyway, and I've been the face of the Boston Celtics for all these years, one of the most disliked, one of the most revered clubs." Of course, America's teams have always been like the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Chicago Bulls. They've earned a lot of respect. "If you're going to have all these superheroes, someone has to be the evil," Pierce explained to Michelle Beadle.

While Pierce understands why people detest him because of his statements about James or because he is one of the greatest players in Celtics history, he believes that the current generation of NBA fans is treating him unfairly.

"This new generation is extremely illiterate." They don't do their homework. They heard some of what I said on ESPN about LeBron and Dwyane Wade and all that, and they don't realize it's just for show. That got me a lot of flak. They would know if they actually conducted the research. But it's simply this new generation getting sucked into trendy subjects, the Internet, TV discussion, and all that other nonsense. They despise you, but I've always been the bad guy. That's fine with me."

Pierce and LeBron went to war 69 times.

According to StatHead, Pierce and James have faced off 69 times, with 30 of those contests taking place in the playoffs. Pierce won 21 of the 39 regular-season games they played, averaging 20.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. During the same period of games, James, on the other side, averaged 29.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists.

Despite Pierce's superior regular-season record against James, the playoffs reveal a different picture. Pierce won 13 games in 30 while averaging 17 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 39.2 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from long, and 82.4 percent from the line. While James was dominant, winning 17 games while averaging 29.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game.

Although it is evident which of these two players has had the better career, it would be startling to learn if they do not respect each other off the court. After all, game knows game.

Pierce was in the stands at the TD Garden as LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by the Boston Celtics. The Celtics will be back in action on Wednesday, November 24th, when they take on the Brooklyn Nets in an attempt to extend their current winning run.

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