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Video: Paul Pierce Details 2003 Spitting Incident with LeBron James, Cavaliers

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 22, 2020

Miami Heat forward LeBron James, left, defends against Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, right, during the first quarter in Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Former Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce left Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James off his all-time top-five player list earlier this week, and retired journeyman center Kendrick Perkins believes the omission is personal stemming from a preseason spitting incident during James' rookie season in 2003:

NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA

"I'm glad social media wasn't out then because I spit at they bench. I probably would've got fined." @paulpierce34 confirms @KendrickPerkins' story that him spitting toward the Cavs bench started his beef with LeBron. https://t.co/k1DbLKhcQq

Perkins was Pierce's teammate with the Celtics from 2003 until his trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder in February 2011, and the 35-year-old was James' teammate during his second stint with the Cavs in 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Perkins previously tweeted his disagreement with Pierce before including the 42-year-old in a top-five list of his own:

Kendrick Perkins @KendrickPerkins

Paul Pierce my BROTHER I love til the Casket close and I can understand if LeBron James is not your GOAT but for him not to be on your Top 5 All-Time list is just Blasphemy!!!!

Kendrick Perkins @KendrickPerkins

My Celtics All-Time starting 5.... Larry Bird Paul Pierce Ray Allen Kevin Garnett Bill Russell I don’t need a PG when I got all these Play Makers!!! 🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

"When I go back, and I talk about these players and the top-five players who not only built up organizations or helped continue organizations' tradition, a la [the late] Kobe [Bryant], I go back and I ask myself, 'What has LeBron did to build up any organization from the ground up?'" Pierce said during ESPN's NBA Countdown episode Tuesday.

James has won three NBA championships with the Miami Heat (2012, '13) and Cavaliers (2016). The 16-time All-Star is third on the league's all-time list for points (34,087) and eighth all-time in assists (9,298).

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