Sports

Paul Pierce’s question about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant isn’t as delusional as it seems

Paul Pierce has been living his best life in retirement since walking away from the NBA in 2017. Pierce was an ESPN employee for a few years before his infamous Instagram live with women and drugs ended his broadcasting career. These days, Pierce spends most of his professional time hosting a podcast with former teammate Kevin Garnett and commenting on the news of the day on Twitter.

Pierce woke up on Wednesday and decided to chose violence on Twitter. He published a photo of himself with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and had the audacity to ask who people who select for a final shot with the game on the line. Spoiler alert: most people did not chose Paul Pierce.

My colleague Anthony Irwin had the best response to this tweet. More than 8,000 agree with me:

Paul Pierce was a great player for the Boston Celtics. He was a 10-time All-Star, a four-time All-NBA selection, and of course the 2008 NBA Finals MVP when he won his first and only ring. Pierce’s penchant for clutch shots continued even after he left Boston, with his “I called game” buzzer-beater for the Wizards in the 2015 NBA Playoffs surviving as one of his most memorable shots ever.

For as good as Pierce was, he’s simply not in the same class as MJ and Kobe. Right? While that statement is obviously true, Pierce was pretty damn good at game-winners. A simple analysis of the numbers proves he at least deserves to be in the conversation with some of the best clutch shot-makers ever.

According to a Feb. 2020 story at The Ringer, Jordan and Bryant are the NBA’s all-time leaders in game-winning buzzer-beaters … but just barely over Pierce.

  • Michael Jordan has the most buzzer-beaters ever with nine.
  • Kobe Bryant is tied for No. 2 on the list with eight buzzer-beaters. Joe Johnson also has eight.
  • Pierce had seven buzzer-beaters, tied with LeBron James for next on the list.

Here’s what The Ringer wrote about Pierce’s clutch performance at the time:

Pierce isn’t the all-time leader in buzzer-beaters, but no one has been involved with as many buzzer-beaters as the Truth. His seven buzzer-beaters tie him for the fourth-most makes all time, and his five buzzer-beater assists are the most ever. That’s 12 buzzer-beaters he either scored or assisted on; no other player has more than 10. Despite being known for his 3-point shooting prowess, all seven of Pierce’s game-winners were 2-pointers (which is tied for the most).

Paul Pierce has 12 buzzer-beaters that he’s either made or assisted. Anyone who has a couple decades of experience as an NBA fan knew Pierce was really great in big moments, but this just adds to his legend as a player.

Pierce is a Hall of Famer, but he’s not an all-timer by any means. Even still, very few players were better with the game on the line. Pierce isn’t MJ or Kobe, but he was pretty damn good.

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