Paul Pierce and LeBron James do not hang out in the offseason, but it’s not because of bad blood.
Pierce and James have met five times in the playoffs, including their Eastern Conference semifinal series that begins Tuesday night. Predictably, they don’t really like each other when they are on the court, but that’s it.
“I mean, it’s going to be dislike there,” Pierce said, according to ESPN.com. “That’s nothing that has carried over off the court. I think everything — the dislike for me, LeBron, or Miami or Cleveland — it’s all based on what we are both chasing, and that is about it.”
James’ teams hold a 13-12 advantage in playoff games all-time against Pierce and Kevin Garnett. They last met in the 2012 East finals, which Miami won in seven games, so it figures that Pierce doesn’t send Christmas cards to James.
Still, it’s nothing personal. Pierce doesn’t consider James a friend, because he considers very few fellow players friends.
“I really don’t have a relationship with anybody in the NBA outside my teammates, you know?” Pierce told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “These are guys that I respect. Been to the All-Star game with a lot of them. It is a mutual respect. That’s all. It’s not like I am calling anybody. My friends are pretty much who I grew up with and my family.”
Pierce said nothing about former Boston Celtics teammate and current Heat guard Ray Allen, who helped him capture the 2008 title. Garnett memorably claimed to have lost Allen’s phone number after Allen bolted for Miami as a free agent in 2012.