Say what you will about Paul Pierce, the man has never been bashful when it comes to his opinions.
That was especially true Friday afternoon during Pierce’s appearance on an NBA broadcast with ESPN. During a segment called “Truth Serum,” host Michelle Beadle hit Pierce with a question that no doubt came from Dwyane Wade’s impending retirement:
Who’s the better NBA player between Pierce and Wade?
Pierce didn’t need much time to come up with an answer.
Paul Pierce says he was better than Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce says he had a better career than Dwyane Wade 👀 pic.twitter.com/8Q6AbYNxe1
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 6, 2019
A transcript of the exchange:
Beadle: Who’s the better NBA player?
Pierce: That’s easy! I can say that off the bat. That’s me. If you give me Shaq, if you give me LeBron ...
Jalen Rose: They did! It’s called the Big Three
Pierce: Yeah, we got that late. If you give me these guys earlier in my career ...
Beadle: Let me ask you this. What would have been a perfect time for you, Paul? Let’s make sure we get this right.
Pierce: When I was 24 years old, if you give me Shaq. When I'm 24 or 25 you give me LeBron and Bosh, I'd be sitting on five or six championships. Easy.
In fairness to Pierce, it’s understandable why Pierce is pushing the better teammates argument. It’s just about the only way the Boston Celtics great can claim superiority.
Paul Pierce’s ‘case’ against Dwyane Wade
Take the following statistics: points per game, field goal percentage, rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, blocks per game, usage rate, NBA All-Star selections, All-NBA selections, NBA All-Defense selections, scoring titles and NBA championships. Wade has the superior career numbers to Pierce in all but one of those stats (rebounds being the exception). Thankfully, Rose took it upon himself to recite many of those numbers to Pierce on the air.
Paul Pierce’s face as Jalen lists all the honors Dwyane Wade had that Pierce couldn’t match, with Beadle providing commentary 😂 pic.twitter.com/A4eAqEBLRE
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) April 6, 2019
It’s also a fair amount of revisionist history to imply that Shaquille O’Neal won Wade his first ring. Wade averaged 27.2 points per game on .577 true shooting with 6.7 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game, while O’Neal posted 20.0 points per game. Contrast that to, say Pierce’s lone championship season, in which he, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett all posted between 17 and 20 points per game.
Maybe Pierce is right that he’d have plenty more titles with teammates like James and Bosh during his prime, but that’s hardly something you can assume. Basketball is unpredictable! And it’s certainly not an effective argument against the integrity of Wade’s second and third championships.
Naturally, plenty of Twitter users had words for Pierce and his boasts.
Paul Pierce is literally the only person on the planet who thinks this highly of Paul Pierce. Literally the only one. https://t.co/U0Pzu2jWIG
— Beyonce has an uncle named Larry Beyince. Bruh.... (@DragonflyJonez) April 6, 2019
Paul Pierce really said with a straight face his career was better than D Wade pic.twitter.com/cnf5iPuMHz
— Milton Nettles (@Bama_Boi57) April 6, 2019
Paul Pierce said he had a better career than D-Wade LMAOOO pic.twitter.com/p00rgsZbsx
— 🅱️randon 𓅓 (@b_wilkinson99) April 6, 2019
He was definitely better in 2007-08.
And that was about it.https://t.co/RRjwarOotb
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 6, 2019
If Dwyane Wade came back next season, played all 82 games and scored zero points in every one, he'd still have a higher career scoring average than Paul Pierce.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 6, 2019
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