LeBron James long ago surpassed Paul Pierce as an on-court rival, but The Truth still won’t give an inch to his longtime nemesis.

According to Pierce’s former Washington Wizards teammate Marcin Gortat, Pierce gave a hard time to anyone who dared to wear LBJ’s Nikes to practice.

Pierce’s new LA Clippers teammates would be wise to take note.

Per the WaPo:

“Well, what I learned from him, you’re not allowed to wear LeBron James’s shoes to practice,” center Marcin Gortat joked. “I learned you have to be two hours before practice to lift. For warmups, you have to do at least jump rope. If Paul Pierce does 10 reps on the bench press, you got to do 11 because he’s 40 years old [actually, 37] so you got to do at least one more. And I learned people look good in glasses, too. So, I learned a lot from him. Just the approach to the game. I wish I learned the trash talking in a game but I just don’t have the bling-bling on my finger so I can’t do it. He’s special.

 

“Just a [37]-year-old guy who was here two hours before practice doing jump rope, staying on the treadmill, doing everything. I mean, incredible. Incredible work ethic. Incredible basketball IQ. It was fun. It was fun to play with him.”

 

Pierce’s decision to bolt Washington for the Los Angeles Clippers, where he is reuniting with Coach Doc Rivers to return home for the end of his career, left a hole for the Wizards on the court. He was the team’s starting small forward, stretch-four specialist and late-game shot-maker. But the Wizards made moves to replace his on-court production. The question is who will replace Pierce’s leadership and intangibles, contributions his teammates insisted made a difference.

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