LOS ANGELES -- With Game 1 of the NBA Finals set for Thursday evening at Staples Center, Boston Celtics star forward Paul Pierce was asked Wednesday afternoon after practice to describe the difference between the fans in Los Angeles and his home crowd in Boston.
"Well," he said with a smile, "the fans at home cheer for us, the fans here don't."
Obvious enough, but Pierce continued.
"I'm not at enough Laker games to really tell you how their fans are. I'm more biased knowing that our fans are, I want to say, I think a little bit more knowledgeable to the game. I think a lot of celebrities come here to get out of the house to watch a game, to see the other celebrities. But then you've got your fans to mix with them. It's an interesting crowd, whereas I think our fans really come to watch the actual game."
Pierce, a Los Angeles native who starred at Inglewood High in the mid-1990s, said he never expected growing up to be part of this rivalry, at least not wearing green. "I had dreams of wearing a Laker uniform" he said of his younger days. "Just to tell you, I didn't want to be a Boston Celtic.
"But I am a Boston Celtic," he continued, "and I've enjoyed every moment of it. I've had a chance to learn the history, been around the great players," he said. "Just soaking up the history of the Boston Celtics has been the best thing that's happened to me as a player."
Brian Kamenetzky covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com and is co-author of the Land O'Lakers blog.