LeBron James vs. Paul Pierce: Why They Hate Each Other

By Brian Ethridge, Posted: 05/07/14 11:08AM EDT

When it comes to Paul Pierce, it is obvious that he has always hated the Miami Heat and LeBron James. Whenever he faces them, regardless if he was a member of the Boston Celtics or with the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce seems to play just a tad bit harder. But why? Why does Pierce hate the NBA's biggest star so much?

Pierce claims the hatred he has for LeBron James is just a "basketball thing."

"I think it is more of a basketball thing," Pierce said before the Nets' shootaround prior to Game 1, when asked if there is any dislike between him and James. "We are aiming for the same prize and only one of you can get it, you know?"

"I mean, it's going to be a dislike there," Pierce continued. "That's nothing that has carried over off the court. I think everything -- the dislike for me, LeBron, or Miami or Cleveland -- it's all based on what we are both chasing, and that is about it."

Although Pierce stops short of saying he has any hatred for James off the court, they also do not have a friendly relationship outside of basketball. There is mutual respect, but nobody should get the confused with the two being best of friends.

"No," Pierce replied. "I really don't have a relationship with anybody in the NBA outside my teammates. You know? These are guys that I respect. Been to the All-Star Game with a lot of them. It is a mutual respect. That's all. It is not like I am calling anybody. My friends are pretty much who I grew up with and my family."

One of the reasons Pierce probably has dislike for James is the fact that he was pegged as the NBA's next big thing before he had ever even played a second on a professional basketball court. When Pierce made a name for himself, he has to work for it. There is probably a part of him that is jealous of James' fame and success.

That's why Pierce takes a lot of pride in every win he has over the Miami Heat and LeBron James.

"I think that is a big part of my success, period," Pierce said of his mentality. "I am not intimidated by nobody in the league. There are always going to be great players and there's always going to be challenges. That is one of my greatest strengths. I am not afraid to face challenges or any matchup in the league.

"At the end of the day, it is still the Miami Heat standing in your way of what you want to accomplish, and that's a championship."

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