Love him or hate him, LeBron James is “goated” in the eyes of the basketball gods — right? Well, not according to former Finals MVP Paul Pierce. In fact, if things don’t go the Lakers‘ way this coming season, the Boston Celtics legend believes The King’s legacy could be in for a lasting dropoff.
“If they don’t win this year, it’s gonna be a big hit on LeBron’s legacy,” Pierce said, via Basketball Forever. “He’s not top-5 all-time if Lakers don’t win. Let alone lose in the first round. No more ‘G.O.A.T’ talk anymore.”
Fair or unfair, James will be under an immense amount of scrutiny this season, as is the case every year. However, the heat may be turned up a tad bit more in 2021 with his Lakers coming off a disappointing first-round playoff exit. This will prove especially true with a healthy Anthony Davis at his side and the additions of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers’ roster this offseason.
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Pierce Backtracks on His Previous LeBron Take
To question James’ top-five status seem a bit outlandish. Don’t agree? Here’s Pierce himself, less than a year ago, etching the future Hall of Famer’s name second on his all-time list of NBA greats behind only Michael Jordan.
“Absolutely. I mean this is one of the more trying seasons based on a lot of things you said, emotionally, physically,” Pierce said following the Lakers’ 17th NBA championship. “Coming to the bubble having to get back in playing shape after the long sit-out. You know hats go off to the Los Angeles Lakers. Lebron James, he took a leap. He took a leap tonight. 3 Final MVPs, three different franchises. Four MVPs regular season. He’s the second greatest player behind Michael Jordan, solidarity. And he’s still going. He’s still going. He still has a chance to catch him.”
Kevin Garnett to Present Pierce at His Hall of Fame Enshrinement
While Pierce’s comment may leave some questioning his analyst chops, no one would dare doubt the greatness he brought to the NBA hardwood. A 10-time All-Star, Piece is a Celtics legend and a driving force in bringing Boston their most recent NBA title, a 2007 victory over the Lakers — fittingly enough. Pierce’s efforts have not gone unnoticed over the years and on September 11, 2021, at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, “The Truth” will be etched into NBA eternity.
Pierce, who was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2021 class back in May, will be presented by former teammate and fellow Celtics Champion, Kevin Garnett, at his enshrinement ceremony.
According to NBA.com, “Members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 were asked to select previous inductees to accompany and present them to their peers. The choice is solely the decision of the incoming Hall of Famers, or their family members if recognized posthumously.” Garnett, was inducted as part of last year’s class after 21 brilliant years in the league. You can check out his enshrinement speech below: