Daily Buzz: LeBron puts himself in top four all time ... Abdul-Jabbar begs to differ
MAR 27, 2014 11:30p ET
Last month, LeBron James had the nerve to say that he believes he will “for sure” be listed among the NBA’s hypothetical “Mount Rushmore” someday.
“I'm going to be one of the top four that's ever played this game, for sure,” James told NBA TV when asked whether he would be included in his own top four, which he said currently consists of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson.
“And if they don't want me to have one of those top four spots, they'd better find another spot on that mountain. Somebody's gotta get bumped, but that's not for me to decide. That's for the architects.”
James’ proclamation wasn’t exactly a stretch. No one will argue that he’s not among the greatest players of his generation, and after shedding the best-to-never-win-a-title tag over the last couple seasons, there’s little the 29-year-old has left to do but build upon his own impressive legacy.
That’s not enough, however, to convince Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that James deserves to be listed among the all-time greats, a stance Abdul-Jabbar made abundantly clear in a recent interview with Los Angeles Daily News.
“LeBron James was talking about how he’s the best ever, but he never saw Wilt play,” Abdul-Jabbar told the paper. “If he had, he wouldn’t say that. Whenever he averages 55 points a game, then I might want to listen to what he has to say. I’m not trying to put LeBron down. He’s awesome. He’s the best player in this era at this point. But he didn’t see Bill Russell play. When his team wins eight consecutive NBA championships, maybe I’ll compare him to Bill Russell.”
It sounds like Abdul-Jabbar is defending Russell more than he is demeaning LeBron — though Russell defended himself just fine when the topic of LeBron’s Mount Rushmore came up. But then Kareem took things a step further, putting LeBron’s knowledge of hoops history on blast.
“What if LeBron had to guard Elgin Baylor? I don’t know if LeBron would’ve had a good night that night,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Those days, you could hand-check and the game was more physical. Now you can’t do those things and you can (carry the ball when you dribble) now. We couldn’t do that. It was a more difficult game to play. I don’t think he gets it in terms of the great athletes that have played this game.”
It’s unclear exactly why Abdul-Jabbar got so hot and bothered about who was or was not included on LeBron’s theoretical and completely arbitrary list.
James had been put on the spot with the question, his list was acceptable — made up mostly of players from the generation James grew up watching — and it’s doubtful he meant any disrespect to Russell, Baylor or any of the other all-time greats Kareem mentioned to the Daily News, a list that included Jerry West, Earl Monroe, Dave Bing and Gus Johnson.
Honestly, you could probably ask the 10 best players in the league about their Mount Rushmore and get 10 different answers, and they’d all be right — and that’s kind of the point of these hypotheticals, really. But if answering those sorts of questions is going to continue to prove as divisive as it has, players like James might just be best served to keep their opinions to themselves.
Now, for some links:
• Outspoken Wizards center Marcin Gortat said that sometimes the team is mentally weak.
• Ted Turner says he wouldn’t have moved the Braves to Cobb County.
• Bill Murray rocks some PBR pants:
• The San Antonio Spurs mascot lost his eyes in a run-in with Aaron Brooks:
• Warriors assistant Brian Scalabrine was reportedly demoted after getting into a verbal altercation with a fellow assistant.
• Metta World Peace hopes Phil Jackson will be his ticket back to the Knicks’ roster.
• Ah, yes, NHL great Magic Johnson:
• Witness the 2-minute drill through the eyes of Miami quarterback Ryan Williams:
• The University of Minnesota is set to build a $70 million practice facility for the football team.
• Oh, my:
• Watch a Korean journalist prove that, yes, getting hit by a pitch hurts:
• Former Miami Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez still thinks the team is soft.
• Bryce Harper talked about the lengths he goes to in order to take care of his body.
• John Calipari and Rick Pitino sure seem cozy:
• Sports on Earth made a documentary about Rick Barry and the underhanded free throw:
• Tom Coughlin says he deserves Hall of Fame consideration.
• When asked why Patty Mills didn’t play much before this year, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said it because Mills “was a little fat ass.”
• Tara Reid says she has kissed Tom Brady:
• Apparently not everyone believed that the Johnny Manziel dunking video was filmed using a 10-foot rim, so he posted another one to try to prove his case:
• Carl Pelini is finally speaking out about the controversy that led to his resignation at FAU.
• An MLS player missed a game after he suffered a concussion tripping over a bike rack.
• The Brewers will be giving away a Hank the Dog bobblehead this season:
• Jorge Gutierrez was ejected for this foul on Cody Zeller:
• Rajon Rondo will fill in as a color analyst for an upcoming Celtics game.
• Derek Jeter is No. 11 on Forbes’ list of the world’s greatest leaders.
• Nick Young is not concerned with calories when he stops at the movie theater concession stand:
• George H.W. Bush was on hand for Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day at Texas A&M: