Paul Pierce saw both sides of the Washington Wizards-Boston Celtics rivalry. Of course, it’s not nearly as strong now as it once was, but just ask Kelly Oubre or Kelly Olynyk and they’ll tell you about the good old times.
Wizards star Bradley Beal was one of Pierce’s teammates during his lone season in Washington, and the guard had nothing but great things to say about “The Truth” in an appearance on “The Woj Pod” with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Paul is a true pro,” Beal told Wojnarowski, as transcribed by Boston.com. “The biggest thing I learned is that you got to work on your craft everyday. We all know that as hoopers and even as experts, but to see a vet in his — I don’t even remember what year it was — sixteenth, seventeenth year, still be the first guy in, last guy to leave, icing his body, taking care of his body. Doing everything that he was supposed to do at that age and still playing at a high level for us, that really hit home with me.”
But Beal didn’t always feel that way. Prior to getting to know Pierce, the All-Star guard wasn’t all that fond of the Celtics legend, but it turns out Pierce just isn’t that fond of his opponents — likely one of the many factors that made him a tremendous competitor.
“Just being around him for a year was amazing. True leadership skills. At first I thought Paul was a pure a**hole. I thought he hated everybody, I thought he wasn’t a people person at all. But it just was the complete opposite. He rides for his team, like if you’re his teammate, you’re his boy. That’s just how he is. If you’re on the opposite team, he’s not talking to you (and) he’s not messing with you. I’ve learned that and developed that same mentality in a way. He instilled a lot of that in John (Wall) and I in our leadership and how we control things, how we talk to teammates, how we try to gather the troops and get things going. And, how to talk to each other, John and I. How we approach each other and how we deal with each other. He helped us a lot with that as well. … He’s a true legend, a true pro. He’s a pro’s pro.”
We’re sure plenty of Pierce’s former teammates would label him as a legend as well.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images