Paul Pierce enters the NBA GOAT debate Photo credit: FS1

There’s an active NBA player who voted Paul Pierce as the GOAT and Pierce wonders if that player was LeBron James.

Earlier this week, The Athletic recently released its third anonymous NBA player poll which includes the question, “Who’s the greatest player of all time.” Michael Jordan and LeBron James appropriately finished first and second on the poll, while Kobe Bryant generously received the third most votes. Tied for fourth place was Steph Curry, Magic Johnson and Paul Pierce, each getting one vote. Yes, there is an active NBA player who voted Pierce as the greatest of all time.

Tuesday morning, FS1’s Undisputed discussed the poll, with Skip Bayless asking Pierce, “Do you have any idea who voted for you?”

“Sometimes it’s not always everything you do on the court, but off the court too that makes you the GOAT,” Pierce said with a big smile. “It’s a combination of things that can put you in the GOAT conversation… Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Whatever the combination is that makes someone worthy of being the greatest basketball player of all-time, Pierce doesn’t have it. Which is why Bayless assumed there’s someone on the Celtics who Pierce is close with that bestowed him with a GOAT vote. But Pierce had another idea.

“What if LBJ voted for me?” Pierce asked. “I did play against him. He must think something. What do you think about that? We had a lot of battles. Come on now, we had some tough battles. It could’ve been LB!”

Something tells me LeBron’s humble personality voted for himself and implored everyone he could to do put his name on their ballot too. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that there is still someone out there who thought to give Pierce a vote.

“They knew if I had better players around me when I was younger, I probably would have won about five or six championships too… Who else would you think should be in the conversation?” Pierce joked. “Come on now.”

To which Keyshawn Johnson wisely mentioned how laughable it was that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar isn’t on the list. While Pierce certainly doesn’t belong in the GOAT conversation, he isn’t the most egregious player to get a vote in The Athletic’s anonymous NBA player poll. Last year’s poll saw Tracy McGrady get a GOAT vote from an active NBA player.

Even if he won’t outright admit it, Pierce knows how ridiculous it is to see his name mentioned in the NBA GOAT debate. Credit Undisputed for having some fun with the absurdity of The Athletic’s poll. Although, they never pass up an opportunity to have a segment with LeBron’s name in it.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to