Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant had many fierce battles during their playing days, with the Boston Celtics forward taking down the Black Mamba in the 2008 NBA Finals, and Bryant returning the favor two years later in 2010.
Pierce widely was known for his “old-man game” during his 19-year career, using his crafty footwork, knowledge of the game and silky stroke to take it to opponents on a nightly basis.
But perhaps The Truth had something else working in his favor?
Bryant, whose book “The Mamba Mentality,” was released Oct. 23, gave Pierce credit as “one of the toughest players” he had to guard during his Hall of Fame career. The Lakers great went on to note, however, that Pierce was so tough because of his size.
And he didn’t mean it in a totally flattering way.
“He really understood how to use his body,” Bryant wrote, via ESPN. “He would use his heft to shield you, and he would use his size to shoot over you.”
That’s right, heft.
While some might be offended by the insinuation they weren’t exactly svelte, Pierce loved what Bryant had to say.
“That’s what I’m talking about Kob, finally some respect around here,” Pierce said Thursday on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “He knew what it was, finally. I was just stronger than him, look. I put that body on him, come on now. Imma put that shoulder on him, put that hip on him, get the layup. Come on, I was just too strong for these guys. I couldn’t jump over them, so I just go right through them.”
Pierce’s strength and smarts aided him well during his 19 NBA seasons, helping him rack up 26,397 career points to solidify his place as one of his generation’s great scorers.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images