Celtics legends disagree on who will succeed LeBron James as face of NBA

Matthew Legros
Kevin Garnett (left) and Paul Pierce (right) on their "Ticket and the Truth" podcast.

NBA Hall-of-Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett went at it over who the face of the NBA will be once LeBron James walks away from the game.

James isn’t getting any younger. The 39-year-old was indifferent about his chances of retiring during the 2024 All-Star break.

Fittingly, the basketball world is trying to determine who he’ll pass the torch to when that time comes. A slew of All-Stars generate the wins, excitement and global appeal to fill James’ shoes. Garnett and Pierce know who they’re backing.

Garnett took up for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Pierce put his hand around Jayson Tatum’s proverbial shoulders. Both former All-Stars justified their thought processes with viral-worthy comments.

KG and Paul Pierce wrestle in NBA face debate

Pierce and Garnett shared their passionate takes on the latest episode of their “Ticket and the Truth” podcast.

Garnett opened things up by commending the “Greek Freak” for being a champion. Pierce disagreed, saying that Antetokounmpo’s questionable obsession with the game is a disqualifier. He cited Giannis recently saying he doesn’t watch basketball in his own time.

Pierce was only willing to crown a player that eats, sleeps and breathes the game as the NBA’s next king. Tatum checks all of Pierce’s boxes.

“I need him to be invested in all phases of it,” Paul said of a player’s dedication to the game. “Because that showing me, when my kid, who I want him to emulate? I want him to emulate that player that’s passionate about it.”

Pierce says that Giannis not watching games in his free time is indicative of the younger culture where takes are based more off highlights, rather than intricate knowledge of basketball.

Tatum and Antetokounmpo are second and fifth respectively in current jersey sales, which shows their popularity among NBA fans. They have the winning pedigree, shoe deals and widespread appeal to claim that top spot after James’ farewell.

Garnett and Pierce’s takes may not be put to the test right away as James’ retirement remains uncertain.

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About The Author

Matthew graduated from Brooklyn College in 2022 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications. In the past, he's written for Heavy Sports, Sports Illustrated, and SB Nation. On top of penning scripts for Empire Sports Media, Matthew covers the latest NBA, NFL and Boxing news for Dexerto. His expertise lies in basketball, with a personal passion for track-and-field. You can contact him at matthew.legros@dexerto.com.