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:
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:
"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).