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LeBron James’ Rivalry With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett Continues

LeBron James does not like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (on the court at least).

June 9, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) passes the ball defended by Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) and Kevin Garnett (5) during the second quarter in game seven of the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It started during his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers, always falling short of the mighty Boston Celtics. When he joined the Miami Heat, the rivalry continued, with James finally besting the aging Celtics, try as they did to stop him. This summer, it was Pierce and Garnett changing locales, but that didn’t end any feistiness between the three.

Ahead of their first meeting (which took place last night) since Pierce and KG joined the Brooklyn Nets, James fired shots at the two future Hall-of-Famers over what he thought was hypocritical behavior.

From a report by ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst:

“I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,” James said. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving.”

James is right about the two former Celtics criticizing Allen for leaving. However, I believe Pierce and Garnett would tell you their departure was much different. Allen, they believe, betrayed the team by joining the Heat. Pierce and Garnett, meanwhile, were doing the franchise a favor by accepting a trade, even though they would have liked to stay.

While Pierce tried to ignore the topic when asked about it, Garnett was less diplomatic.

This quote from Garnett illustrates just how weird it will be for both him and Pierce, as well as for fans that they are playing in Brooklyn. It shows the connection Garnett still has, and one can without a doubt assume Pierce still has, with the city and the franchise.

And after all that, there was still a game to be played between the two last night. Even if it was a preseason game, Paul Pierce wasn’t pulling any punches. Early in the first quarter, he stopped LeBron dead in his tracks (not an easy feat) on a fastbreak with a hard foul.

It may still be the preseason, but these teams, and the three players are all looking to assert themselves as top dogs in the Eastern Conference. The Heat hold the crown, as the two-time defending champions, but Pierce, Garnett, and the rest of the Nets will be coming for it with all they have.

The competition between James, Pierce and Garnett won’t end until all three have retired, and even then they’ll still probably find a way to keep it going.

The rivalry continues, y’all die.

(Yes I know that’s not the real lyrics. It’s a joke, so please don’t “well, actually…” me.)

jmaloney