To Be The Man

“I have an opinion, I have a right to have one and that’s the way I feel. I felt I’ve played against the best over the years and felt right now that I’m the best player in the world.”


Paul Pierce, Boston Herald, Aug 2008


Paul Pierce, the best player in the world? I never bought what Pierce was selling for a second, even after he won the Finals MVP last season. Pierce has always been a level below the top tier of players – LeBron, Kobe, Duncan, etc. – in my books – a star, but not a superstar. Yes, he won the championship and the Finals MVP, but the voters must have not been watching Game 3 when he went 2-14 or the close-out game when he was 4-13. And that whole wheelchair nonsense of Game 1 really rubbed me the wrong way.


To Be The ManBut Pierce did outduel LeBron and Kobe in back-to-back series, so I guess he felt he earned the right to crow. But clearly Kevin Garnett was and is the Celtics’ heart, soul and vertebrae. It’s hard to be considered the best player in the world when you aren’t even the best on your team. Don’t get me wrong, Pierce is a nice player. He’s one of those guys who gets the job done without being a “NBA-level” athlete, and that is always cool to see. But he’s not the complete package – a franchise player. If he was Danny Ainge wouldn’t have had to trade for Ray Allen and Garnett. But there is nothing wrong with that – there aren’t too many guys who are legit franchise players anyway. However, when you call yourself “the best there is”, you raise the stakes and leave yourself open for criticism from jerky writers like myself.

So with Garnett out of action for this playoffs, it was time for Pierce to change my mind. How did he do in Game 6 & 7 versus Orlando, when he had the chance to lead his team into the Conference Finals? 10-27 from the field, including 4-13 in Game 7. Not exactly “best player in the world” stuff. What Mr. Pierce must learn is that being the best player in the world takes more than a good playoff series or two. It takes consistently being the best player on the court, year after year. That is why Duncan, LeBron, Kobe and co. have the reps that they do. Because to be The Man, you have to beat The Man (consistently).



To Be The Man
– In other news, my quest for complete domination of the World Wide Web continues.
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