7.30.2008

The Truth and his Ego

My job is really getting old, and yet I can’t seem to find anything else that interests me. This leaves me with basically two choices: accept the fact that my job stinks or find new ways to motivate myself and make my job more interesting.

I try to choose the second option, and that is why I find KG’s pre-game, basket-support, head-butting routine so fascinating. I’m not going to bring a basket-support to work, but I understand where he’s coming from.

Almost everyone looks for ways to motivate themselves. Athletes are just more visible than the rest of us.

By now, we all know what motivated the Celtics last season.

Doc couldn’t coach

Perk and Rondo were the “weak links”

Posey wasn’t getting full value on the market last summer

KG couldn’t win a championship

Ditto for Ray Allen

Ditto for Paul Pierce?

Not so fast.

I’ve written once or twice about the fact that not too long ago Paul Pierce was mentioned in the same breath as Kobe Bryant. As the Celtics faded into Lottery Oblivion, that talk ended. Then came the debacle with the US Team and later the playoff meltdown against the Pacers.

Paul Pierce had fallen off the map.

I’m here to say that Paul Pierce took that personally.

As great as winning the championship was for Paul Pierce, it had to be almost as sweet to win the Finals MVP. Every pundit who watched the playoffs agreed that Pierce had outplayed LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in leading the Celtics to victory over the Cavs and Lakers, even though many observers predicted the Celtics would lose both series.

In other words, Paul Pierce was the difference-maker on the biggest stage in the world. No one should doubt that the championship combined with the MVP constituted redemption for Paul Pierce. Instantly, there was discussion that Paul Pierce was a more valuable player than Dirk, and, indeed, the most valuable player chosen in the 1998 draft.

Disagree all you want. But twelve months ago no one could have imagined that this question would be seriously debated today.

Maybe some of us wouldn’t beat our chests as much as he does. Maybe some of us would be less boastful. But it takes a big ego to throw a team on his back and carry it across the finish line, and Paul Pierce has that ego.

It's part-and-parcel of the whole Alpha Dog thing.

So if Paul Pierce wants to proclaim his superiority over the rest of the NBA, I say have at it.

Being the best, or at least being at the table for the conversation, is what motivates him.

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