In what seems to be a rite of passage for everyone associated with the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has named his Mount Rushmore of Basketball. During an interview during the NBA All-Star Game, Bryant told the TNT crew that he would pick Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Bill Russell to be on his Mount Rushmore. And while this group is undoubtedly hard to top, one must sit back and simply wonder: where was LeBron James?
This isn’t to say that James is more or less deserving than any of the four to be placed on the Mount Rushmore, and in fact it really is impossible to truly pick out four historical NBA stars without leaving off an all-time great. But still, it is little secret that Bryant is going to court King James during the summer, and however unlikely it may be that he ditches the Miami Heat for the Lakers, it would seem that some level of courtship will be needed to take his services to Southern California.
But Bryant did not stop at the backhanded slights towards James with his choice for the Mount Rushmore of Basketball. This continued on when Bryant stated to the TNT crew that the players he sets out to watch on a free night are Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden.
Again, nobody is doubting that these three are not enjoyable to watch, but it is also hard to ignore the fact that James was ignored by Bryant until he was asked a direct question about him. This will garner a ton of attention on sports talk shows for the next week. It seemed that the only semi-nice words that he had for King James was when speaking about their matchup in the 2013 NBA All-Star game, when he simply conceded the two love to compete against each other.
Few have ever doubted that what makes Bryant a great competitor is his will to be the best, but at the age of 37 you would think that he would at least be able to concede a little ground to LeBron James. Obviously that is not the case, and it could come back to bite Bryant for the final few years of his career, which will undoubtedly end without an NBA title if King James isn’t present at the Staples Center.