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Optimal receiver diversity combining employing linear channel estimation is examined. Based on the statistical properties of pilot-assisted least-squares (LS) and minimum mean square error (MMSE) channel estimation, an optimal diversity receiver for wireless systems employing practical linear channel estimation on Rician fading channels is proposed. Exact analytical expressions for the symbol error rates of LS and MMSE channel estimation aided optimal diversity combining are derived. It is shown that an MPSK wireless system with MMSE channel estimation has the same SER when the MMSE channel estimation is replaced by LS estimation. This is an interesting counter-example to the common perception that channel estimation with smaller mean square error leads to smaller SER. Extensive simulation results validate the theoretical results.