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LeBron James and Paul Pierce’s feud, explained

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Why does Paul Pierce hate LeBron James so much? The history of their beef is actually deeper than you might remember. Let’s take a look back.

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the Washington Wizards play the Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Paul Pierce may have literally pooped on his pants, but despite that incredible act of aggression, shorts still weren’t his greatest rival during his NBA career. That honor went to LeBron James, who had a lengthy history of battles with Pierce’s Boston Celtics (and — sort of — Brooklyn Nets) while with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat before joining the Lakers.

LeBron has actually admitted that Pierce was probably the closest thing he had to a rival during his career, something I didn’t know before, but became aware of due to the latest entry in our Secret Base series, “Beef History.” And if that sounds like a backhanded compliment from LeBron, trust me, it’s nothing compared to the slander (and spit) that Pierce has slung James’ way over the course of his career, both on the floor and (more frequently) during his retirement as a coward ESPN talking head.

But just in case you forgot, let producer Joe Ali catch you up on the longer-than-you-might-remember beef between The King and The Truth:

Some of those details are incredible, but my favorite one that basically sums up the entire history of this “rivalry” came during Pierce’s time with the Nets, when he shoulder-checked LeBron during a preseason game, refused to let teammates wear his shoes all season, then demanded to guard LeBron during their playoff series and got lit up for 49 points on 67% shooting. If you got embarrassed that badly, you’d probably drop insane LeBron take after insane LeBron take through the media, too.

What was your favorite moment of LeBron vs. Pierce? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Secret Base on YouTube for all the other episodes of Beef History and a whole lot more. And for more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.