The modern NBA player isn’t willing to dethrone the King, per Paul Pierce
Pierce is a notorious King James hater, but he has a decent point here. On ESPN’s NBA pregame show, the analyst discussed the difference between modern NBA players and old heads of the mid 2000’s in terms of defending LeBron.
“Players today are scared of LeBron,” Pierce said. “If they see LeBron standing in front of them, fear shakes in them. I know this. My era is out the league, we weren’t afraid of LeBron. But these guys today, he strikes fear into these guys.”
In their last three postseason matchups, Pierce was 5-12 against LeBron James teams. However, there was a time when Pierce’s Celtics reigned supreme, or at the very least gave James some struggles. But that was LeBron in his early career, far before he became the world-beater we know him as today. James was on the come up. He had to learn how to win, and ironically enough Pierce played a role in teaching him just that.
Paul Pierce and his era of NBA stars knew a different version of LeBron James
Pierce’s perception of himself as a LeBron stopper is a false narrative, but the larger point is that his era saw LeBron come into the league as a fresh-faced 18-year-old phenomenon. Meanwhile, today’s NBA stars only know the Championship-winning, all-time great force he’s become in recent years. It’s a different animal entirely.
By the time Michael Jordan retired, he was more legend than human to younger players. They’d grown up with his poster on his wall, unlike the past era of Hall of Famers like Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The same can be said with James, who’s a role model to younger players in the game today.