Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant had their share of battles while playing in the NBA. However, their best battle may have occurred when they were not an NBA court. Pierce talked about Bryant on the fubo Sports Network's No Chill with Gilbert Arenas and said their best battles were when they played pick-up games at UCLA.
"People don't even know about this because we used to play in the summertime at UCLA," Pierce said. "It used to get kind of like firey between me and him because we're still Celtics and Lakers. But we had some good battles then." Pierce went on to describe how competitive Bryant was on the court. The former Boston Celtics star told the story of how he and Bryant turned a commercial shoot into a one-on-one battle.
"I'm one-on-one with Kobe, and this is a commercial. We're acting," Pierce explained. ..."So I'm making a move, he ripped me. So I make a move again, he knocked the ball out again. I'm like 'Dude, this is a commercial. We're trying to make it look good. So now we're in a full-blown one-on-one like sweating. But that was just Kobe."
Pierce and Bryant were two of the best players in the NBA in the 2000s. The two would battle each other in the NBA Finals twice with the first meeting occurring in 2008. Pierce and the Celtics won the first meeting 4-2 to give the team their first championship since 1986. But Bryant and the Lakers would take down the Celtics 4-3 in the 2010 NBA Finals. That was the fifth and final NBA championship for Bryant who spent his entire career with the Lakers.
Pierce was talking about Bryant because it's been a little over two years since the Lakers legend died in a helicopter accident. When Pierce first learned about Bryant's death in January 2020, he said, "Even right now it doesn't even feel real. A guy who motivated me, who brought the best out of me on and off the court. And I tell people today there would be no Paul Pierce 'The Truth' without Kobe. If people know where the nickname 'The Truth' came from, it was from me having a really good game against Kobe Bryant and Shaq dubbing me 'The Truth.' … I felt like I lost a brother. I felt like I lost a family member."