Celtics Legend Paul Pierce Laughs Off Udonis Haslem’s Tough-Guy Talk

Paul Pierce

Getty Paul Pierce didn't take Udonis Haslem's comments too seriously.

Udonis Haslem certainly doesn’t like the Boston Celtics. He made that perfectly clear during a January appearance on “The OGs” podcast when he ripped Celtics legend Bill Russell and then said he’d still love to fight Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, members of Boston’s last championship team in 2008.

Haslem said he if saw Pierce or Garnett in a grocery store, “it’s on.” Pierce responded to Haslem’s comments on February 24, putting very little stock into what the former Miami Heat power forward had to say.

Paul Pierce Doesn’t Remember Hearing From Udonis Haslem

Pierce and Haslem are on far different levels when it comes to basketball. Pierce is a 10-time NBA All-Star who was named All-NBA in four seasons. He averaged 19.7 points in his 19-year NBA career.

Haslem played 20 seasons in the league — all with the Heat — as a solid role player. But in his last seven seasons (he retired at the end of 2022-23), he appeared in a total of 65 games.

Still, he was part of the Celtics-Heat rivalry that continues today. Haslem clearly carries his hatred for the Celtics with him to this day.

“To this day, you know how I feel when we play the Celtics,” Haslem said on “The OGs” podcast. “I can’t stand the [expletive]. I like [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown, but the old [expletive] like KG and Paul, [expletive] y’all.

“The young generation, y’all can create your own beef or whatever. Them old [expletives]? No. I see y’all in the grocery store, it’s on. I don’t care what aisle it is, it could be 7-Eleven near the [expletive] cheese dip. All that [expletive] get flipped over. They understand that. I told them that.”

Pierce said Haslem never told him anything.

“First of all, I’m trying to remember when he told me that,” Pierce said on “The Dan Le Batard Show.” “I never remember hearing that. Second of all, when we played Miami and Udonis Haslem was out there, I don’t remember no hard screens, no hard fouls.

“It is what it is. I’d rather do it in a telephone booth, but if you need more room in the grocery store, that’s cool, too.”

From Pierce’s Perspective, It Was All About Basketball

Pierce acknowledged he didn’t like the Heat, either, but he also said it wasn’t personal. He said his hatred for the Heat never left the court.

“I’m a grown man,” he said. “I ain’t dodging nothing. People are going to say what they want to say. Let it be what it is, but I’m gonna be ready for it.

“It was all about basketball. Every year when we went to the All-Star Game, when we see them, there was a little tension, but there was respect,” he said. “It wasn’t like nobody wanted to fight. We showed that grit on the court, and that was our identity as a Celtic.”

During the time that both Haslem was on the Heat and Pierce was on the Celtics, from 2003 to 2017, Boston had a 22-15 record in regular-season head-to-head matchups. They also met twice in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with the Heat knocking out the Celtics in the semifinals in 2011 and Boston beating Miami in the conference finals in 2012.

“When we’re on the court, I don’t like you and you don’t like me. I ain’t picking you up when you fall to the ground. I don’t really want to shake your hand. That’s what the rivalry really was. To hate somebody in real life? I hated them as a team. I hated that they formed a team just for us.”

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