“Paul would like to think he’s better than Kobe,” said Johnson with a hearty laugh. “But Kobe Bryant is the best closer in the game. He’s the best player in the game. You have to remember he’s done it for a long time at a high level. Now, was Paul Pierce better than Kobe in the Finals? Of course, he was better than everybody in the whole playoffs. Is he one of the top three or four players in the league right now, Paul Pierce? Of course he is. It’s hard to find a guy who can go inside and outside and also a guy who can put it on the floor then make plays for other people. Yes, I think he’s right up there with Kobe, right up there with LeBron. It’s hard to pick one of those three guys.
“I’m not biased. I’m going to tell it like it is,” added the Lakers legend. “Kobe Bryant has won three championships for a reason. Shaq [O'Neal] got us to the fourth quarter, but always Kobe Bryant closed the deal. We have to remember that. There’s nothing biased. If Paul was the best player in the league, I would say it. But he’s right there as one of the best. No question about it.”