Paul Pierce may have found himself in the headlines for a lot of non-basketball reasons over the past few months, but once upon a time he was an NBA analyst for ESPN.
During his stint with the worldwide leader, Pierce famously opened up about one specific player who scared him to death every time they faced off.
It wasn’t LeBron James.
It wasn’t Kobe Bryant.
It was someone that you wouldn’t immediately think of in this particular context.
“I didn’t match up with him, but I knew I was in situations in pick-and-roll where I switched out on him. I’m not gonna lie, I was scared to death — I could play defense and all, but I knew I couldn’t slide my feet with Allen Iverson,” he said.
“Every night when you looked at the ‘SportsCenter’ highlights, he was crossing somebody up. All I know is when I switched on him, I was gonna give him that ole defense — I’m gonna let him do his move and I’m gonna let him go. Hopefully I can send him to the baseline because I was not trying to slide my feet with that guy. I didn’t want to end up on anyone’s ‘SportsCenter’ highlights. Period.”
This story just keeps getting sadder. https://t.co/psNkvJL8gS
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 24, 2021
Pierce isn’t the first player to speak about Iverson with such reverence.
The respect Iverson has gotten and continues to get from retired players is a nice reminder that, for all the talk about championships, you don’t need to win a title to earn the respect of your peers.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.