Sports Q: Who had the better career, Paul Pierce or Dwyane Wade?

Debate whether the Celtics legend was better than the newly retired star with Chad Finn and other Celtics fans.

Dwayne Wade Paul Pierce NBA
An ESPN segment in which Paul Pierce said he had a better career than Dwayne Wade sparked the debate: who was better, Pierce or Wade? –Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

Welcome to’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

Does anyone outside of New England think Paul Pierce was really better than Dwyane Wade? I get why Celtics fans love the guy, but Wade had a better career. Anyone unbiased can see that. – Lynn D.


Well, Paul Pierce thinks he’s better than Dwyane Wade, and Pierce is in Los Angeles most of the time. Does that count?

Listen, as a loyal and longstanding believe in the The Truth, this whole conversation is starting to annoy me as much as … well, as much as Dwyane Wade annoys me, which is a whole hell of a lot.

If you look at the debate with clear eyes and somehow set your preferences and personal experiences as a fan aside, you probably come to the conclusion that Wade was better.

Some numbers do favor Pierce – he has more career Win Shares (150, good for 25th all-time, to Wade’s  120, which is 49th – and as Danny Ainge (perhaps a biased observer) noted on Toucher and Rich Wednesday, Pierce did age better into his 30s, mostly because Wade’s knees betrayed him.

But Wade made more All-Star games (13 to 10 for Pierce), more All-Defensive teams (3-0), more All-NBA teams  (8-4), won a scoring title, and earned three championships to Pierce’s one.

Yeah, he played with LeBron James on two of those title teams, but he was exceptional during the Heat’s first championship in 2006. He was an all-time great, one who by most measures was slightly greater than Pierce.


That said, I hate acknowledging this, because the national argument on this was way too dismissive of Pierce, who fueled the whole thing when he said he was better than Wade on one of ESPN’s NBA shows. Pierce should believe that – it’s a legitimate argument, if perhaps not a winning one – but there were way too many NBA writers and Wade stans (including his own family) who treated Pierce like he suggested something truly absurd, like Mario Chalmers was the real key to the Heat all those years or something.

One last thought on Wade: It was gracious of the Celtics to honor him, but I kind of wish they hadn’t. He was a dirty player who got away with everything, the modern-day Isiah Thomas in terms of on-court perception versus reality. He might be a great guy – a recent beer ad makes a compelling case – but he was a villain as an opponent.  And is it me, or did his farewell tour begin three years ago?

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To answer the question … ugh … Wade had the better career, I guess.  But anyone treating Pierce like he doesn’t deserve to be in the argument is a dope. That’s right, I’m calling names now. A dope!

But what does everyone else think? Who was better, Paul Pierce or Dwyane Wade? I’ll hear you in the comments. Especially those of you that vote Pierce.

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