Paul Pierce explains why he believes he was a better NBA player than Dwyane Wade

“That’s easy,” Pierce said. “I can say that off the bat. That’s me.”

Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade had many battles throughout their careers. Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade are used to talking trash and trading buckets on the basketball court.

Just because Pierce is retired, and Wade is about to call it a career, doesn’t mean the friendly rivalry has to stop anytime soon.

The former Celtic, Pierce, and current Miami Heat shooting guard, Wade, added another chapter to the archives this week, as Pierce said Friday on ESPN that he believes he had a better career than Wade.

“That’s easy,” Pierce said. “I can say that off the bat. That’s me.”

Pierce insisted that if he had more talent around him, during his prime, he could have captured more than one championship like Wade. He noted that their career arcs were largely circumstantial and a product of their surroundings.


“If I was 24 years old, you give me (Shaquille O’Neal), if I’m 24, 25, you give me (LeBron James) and (Chris Bosh), I’d be sitting on five or six championships, easy,” Pierce said.

ESPN host Michelle Beadle then posed the question again, asking him who definitively had the better NBA career. Pierce, who has never been one to back down from his stance, tried one more trick to bolster his argument.

“I played 10 years with who?” Pierce said.

“Antoine Walker,” analyst Jalen Rose responded.

“Come on, man,” Pierce retorted.

Later in the night, Pierce, Rose, and Beadle revisited the topic, and Pierce said that people often forget about his pre-Big Three days with the Celtics. Even before he teamed up with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, he said, he was out there putting up stats and winning games.


“People didn’t get a chance to see this before Twitter and Instagram,” Pierce said. That’s why I say, ‘Go to YouTube, put in some of those dates, early 2000s, Paul Pierce.’”

Pierce did clarify that he has nothing but respect for Wade, noting that he also had a magnificent career. He simply thinks his was even more magnificent.

It typically doesn’t take much to rile up NBA Twitter, and this is the latest hot take that just about everyone seems to be addressing.

Wade, himself, agreed with multiple responses noting that he’s the better player. His wife, Gabrielle Union, sided with her husband.


“What I find most troublesome is this idea of a man trying to diminish another man that looks like him, was raised like him, in order to shine a tad brighter. S*** isn’t entertaining, it’s sad,” Union tweeted.

Former Celtic Evan Turner had Pierce’s back, but he disagreed with his opinion.

“His career wasn’t better than DWade’s but Paul Pierce is still the truth tho. Stop playin with his name like that.”

Beadle mentioned that both players are NBA Finals MVPs. Pierce has more career points (26,397) than Wade (23,089), but Wade has the leg up in playoff points (3,954 to 3,180). Pierce has hit 2,143 3-pointers, while Wade has 538, but in fairness, that’s never been Wade’s game.


Wade has the slight edge in win percentage (.580 to .564), and somehow, both players are exactly 15 for 69 on go-ahead field goals in the final 10 seconds.

One important statistic is that Wade has three championships, while Pierce has one. Both players are just about locks for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

As for who’s had the better career, basketball beauty is in the eye of the beholder.