Paul Pierce Already Bringing Swagger To The Brooklyn Nets
Paul Pierce wasted very little time changing the identity of the Brooklyn Nets after his arrival this summer via a trade with the Boston Celtics. Shortly after the trade he began making bold statements about the Nets cross town rivals, the New York Knicks. In July while appearing on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show," Pierce stated, "Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it's grown to another level, I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city."
Pierce continued his attack on the Knicks in a July interview with Complex Magazine. Where he again impressed upon the interviewer that the Nets are going to be the aggressors in this rivalry next season and boasted that the team will become more popular than the Knicks in the Big Apple, saying "Oh yeah. Right now it might be like 70-30 but we're gonna push that the other way."
His brash statements have caught the attention of Knicks players, with Raymond Felton responding in early August to SLAM magazine that the Nets "will never take over the city, because we've got 'New York' on our chest. They've got 'Brooklyn' on their chest, and we've got 'New York'. They can say Brooklyn this, Brooklyn that, they got KG, they got Paul Pierce-OK, they're going to be good, we know that. But they're also going to be an older team as well. They're not going to have the youth that they had last year. They'll never take over the city." Felton also acknowledged the good nature of the ribbing the Knicks are getting from Pierce. "He's just trying to talk, talk, and talk, to fuel the rivalry, which is good. I love it, I think it's good for us, it's good for the whole state, and it's good. So, whatever -- I love it."
However, Felton's teammate J.R. Smith is not taking Pierce's comments the same way, and has struck a more serious tone in comments he made recently to ESPN New York. "I just look at him as a bitter person just getting out of Boston. He doesn't really know what New York is all about. He's been playing in Boston his whole career. He just knows that his words have consequences and he's going to have to pay for them."
Whatever the consequences of Pierce's commentaries about the Nets-Knicks rivalry, he has brought a new identity to the Nets, and the their journey through the 2013-14 schedule should be one of most exciting storylines of the upcoming NBA season.
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