Kobe Bryant is one of the best winners in basketball. He won five championships in his playing career to go with two finals MVPs. However, he had a chance to win a few more. His two finals losses came to the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics. The 2008 Celtics were the tougher matchup with their famous ‘Big 3’. Recently, Paul Pierce admitted what he did to lead by example and fire up the Celtics against Bryant’s Lakers.
Pierce is a true Boston Celtics legend. The ‘Truth’ is one of the most clutch players and also responsible for bringing the most recent championship to the legendary Celtics franchise. He was a true competitor in his own right who would do anything to win. After retiring, he became an NBA analyst for a while. Now, he has returned on his 50th birthday as an agent for the NBA and Celtics.
Boston, MassachusettesJune 17, 2008 Lakers Kobe bryant, Pau Gasol and Vladimir Radmanovich watch the final miuntes against the Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the TD Banknorth Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
In a recent interview with The Athletic, Pierce spoke about the 2008 NBA finals and how he took on the role of being the leader.
Pierce looked to annoy Kobe Bryant
The Lakers and Celtics faced off in the 2008 NBA finals. Both teams had some solid competitors in the lineup. However, the Celtics ‘Big 3’ proved too much for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as they lost in six games. During those finals, Pierce emerged as a leader for the Celtics and also took home the Finals MVP honors for his performance and added a banner to Celtics history.
His main motive was to lead the team by example and fire them up. Pierce did this by guarding Kobe during the finals. He explained, “Of course, I want to annoy Kobe. Of course, I want to lock him down. Of course. When your teammates see you taking the lead on that, it inspires them. They’re like, ‘Damn, Paul gonna pick him up and take on that challenge.’ That let everybody know that I got him, and they’re like, ‘I gotta do my job over here if he’s doing that.’”
At the time, both Celtics and Lakers were the top seeds. Boston had the most wins with 16 titles while the Lakers trailed with 14. With the 2008 win, the Celtics added to their championship tally to become the most successful franchise. However, they are now tied for the most titles after LeBron James led the Lakers to their 17th title in 2020.
Appearing in their first championship since Larry Bird, the Celtics ‘Big 3’ showed out. Pierce, Allen and Garnett all put up over 17 points per game and took the Celtics home in that series. For the Lakers, it was only Kobe who could cross the 15 point threshold. So Pierce’s Celtics trounced in what is an all-time NBA Finals series.
Do you think Pierce was a good leader in the NBA? Let us know in the comments below.
The post Paul Pierce: ‘Of Course, I Want to Annoy Kobe Bryant. Of Course, I Want to Lock Him Down. When Your Teammates See You Taking the Lead on That, It Inspires Them’ appeared first on EssentiallySports.