Kobe Bryant writes in his recently-released book that Paul overpowered defenders due to his “heft.”
Pierce took it as a compliment, and says he was simply stronger than The Black Mamba and others at his position.
Per ESPN (via NESN):
“He really understood how to use his body,” Bryant wrote, via ESPN. “He would use his heft to shield you, and he would use his size to shoot over you.”
While some might be offended by the insinuation they weren’t exactly svelte, Pierce loved what Bryant had to say.
“That’s what I’m talking about Kob, finally some respect around here,” Pierce said Thursday on ESPN’s “The Jump.”
“He knew what it was, finally. I was just stronger than him, look. I put that body on him, come on now. Imma put that shoulder on him, put that hip on him, get the layup. Come on, I was just too strong for these guys. I couldn’t jump over them, so I just go right through them.”
Tracy McGrady, meanwhile, was simply appreciative that Bryant recognized his greatness by calling him perhaps the toughest matchup of his 20-year career.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 26, 2018
“Listen man, thank you Kobe for giving me my roses while I’m still here on this earth,” McGrady said. “He was, listen, I came in, I used to stay at this man’s house. I just knew how gifted he was gonna be, right? So watching him, seeing him blossom before I ever reached you know my stardom, I was like OK, I’m gunning for him, right? This is the guy that I’m gunning for. And he just brought the best out of me.
“I worked religiously of trying to get better and have no flaws in my game. And as you see, I mean, he praised me for that, for not having any flaws.”