When Paul Pierce retires at the end of this season, he’s almost a lock to make it to the Hall of Fame. After 18 years in the NBA, a scoring average just under 20 points a game, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He made a name for himself as a crunch time killer, one who appeared appeared in 10 All-Star Games, won an NBA championship as a member of the Boston Celtics, as well as a Finals MVP in a series that featured Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
And yet, in Draymond Green’s mind, Pierce isn’t worthy of a send-off similar to the one Bryant experienced last season. In a win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, Green wasted no time in telling Pierce he doesn’t deserve a farewell tour because “they don’t love you like that” within the first minute of the game. Pierce wasn’t even on the court to defend himself, although he later took to Twitter to remind everyone the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead from one of his two phones.
You know, just in case you hadn’t heard by now.
73 wins and u thought u was gonna win a title that yr ???3-1 lead oops
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) February 24, 2017
None of this should come as a surprise, of course, because Green has never been shy about talking trash on the court. In fact, with Kevin Garnett no longer in the league, there’s no All-Star who does it better. As of this time last season, the Los Angeles Times asked 24 NBA coaches, assistants and players who the biggest trash talker is in the NBA. Green topped the list with eight votes, followed by Pierce (seven), Garnett (five), Chris Paul (four) and Russell Westbrook (three). If they were to ask the same question again this season, Green would probably be in a class of his own seeing as his biggest competitors are no longer in the league. And playing on the Warriors, a team most consider a lock to get to the Finals, with the nice guy Steph Curry (unless you’re talking to him about the current president) and the quieter Kevin Durant, Green occupies an important position. Somebody needs to be the bad dude. Bill Laimbeer knew that, and that’s why he was the nastiest of the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. His former teammate Dennis Rodman also knew that when he went to the Chicago Bulls and helped Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen win two more titles. Sure, he’s one of the best rebounders the game has ever known, but he also took a lot of pressure off the two other future Hall of Fame-bound guys on his team. Sure, Curry and Durant are wizards on the court, but take Green out of the lineup and the Warriors lose a lot of bite.
Green excels at going low and playing high, it’s a tough thing to pull off. Who else in the NBA currently has a 10 minute video on YouTube of them talking trash? Green famously wasted no time telling the Cleveland Cavaliers they sucked when the Warriors won the championship in 2015. He then pissed off LeBron James, someone who rarely loses their cool in that fashion, in the 2016 NBA Finals by reportedly calling him a “bitch.” That doesn’t even include the times Green has gotten into it with fans and NBA players on social media, either, of which there are plenty to choose from.
Some of those cases are a little more personal than others, but the point remains: Green is now, without question, the NBA’s king of trash talk. And as a word of warning for anyone out there, it only get worse when his shot is falling. At least he tried telling us this day would come.