Question: “Is Kobe really the best player in the world? “
Pierce: “I don't think Kobe is the best player. I'm the best player. There's a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don't cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself."
Chamberlain, Kareem, Jordan, Bird, Magic, Pierce? Somehow, it doesn’t roll off the tongue. Granted, Pierce has become a great player, one who can carry a team on his back in short stretches. But to say he is the best player in the world is like George W. Bush saying he left the country in a better state then when he took office. It would be a lie. A career 23.1 ppg player does not mean you are the best player in the world. A player who won his only championship along side Kevin Garnett AND Ray Allen cannot be the best in the WORLD. I hate to break it to Mr. Pierce, but in world with over 6.7 billion people in it, being Numero Uno is a level he has never reached.
Let’s analyze this a little deeper. Paul Pierce’s stats fell because KG and Ray Ray were running circles on the court, in a marshmallow schedule, demanding the rock. Instead of elevating his game, he had to submit to greater egos, and share leadership. Kobe, by spreading the ball, brought his game to a new echelon by simultaneously taking ownership of HIS team and making those players around him better. Jordan Farmar? Sasha Vujacic? Vladamir Radmanovic for goodness sake! Hardly KG and Allen.
Oh, but I can already hear the emails coming in. But Kobehad Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom, and then he got Gasol for 2 cents on the dollar. Andrew Bynum, as good as he was getting, only played in 35 games. Gasol came into the picture afterward, and took over where Baby Shaq left off. It isn’t rocket science to see that Kobe deserved his MVP, and that Pierce walked away with his ring because of a superior supporting cast.
There is “a line that separates having confidence and being conceited.” That much is true. Unfortunately for Mr. Pierce, he must have been blinded by the stars on his team to not realize he already crossed that line.