Kobe Bryant gives his all-time starting five, highlighted by Larry Bird

Kobe BryantOne of the most popular questions radio hosts have decided to ask current and former NBA players lately is who they would select for an all-time starting five. Given how many Hall of Famers have played the game over the past six decades, the answers tend to vary. During an interview with John Ireland and Mike Trudell on ESPN LA 710 on Wednesday, Kobe Bryant gave his take.

“It’s not very difficult for me,” Kobe said. “I’d go Magic (Johnson), (Michael) Jordan, (Larry) Bird, (Bill) Russell and (Kareem Abdul-Jabar).”

Trudell apparently had the same exact team as Bryant, so Ireland informed him of a team that they say could beat Kobe’s and Trudell’s all-time starting five. That team consisted of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Oscar Robinson, Tim Duncan and Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe agreed that neither one of those teams would dominate the other and that it would be competitive, but he made it a point to discuss how underrated he feels Bird has become.

“I will say as the years go on people really forget how great Larry Bird was,” Bryant said. “He was ridiculous. And I grew up in LA — just like everyone else here — hating his guts. But the guy was just money.”

That has to hurt coming from a Laker legend, but it’s the truth. Personally, I feel that Bird is a much better overall player than Scottie Pippen, although Pippen did make his way into Karl Malone’s all-time starting five and Jason Kidd’s lineup as well. Those of you who were expecting LeBron James to make his way onto the list — get real. This is Kobe’s all-time starting five. King James never stood a chance.

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  • OwebamaIsADouchebag

    Doughby Cryant is an irrelevant ballhog RAP*ST. Go back to being the wheelchair greeter at Wal-Mart, doucheb*g.

  • Ruby Red

    Bird better than Pippen? Pippen, who lead his team in all categories in a season to someone who could only shoot? LMAO.

  • Ruby Red

    Oscar Robinson? Idiot.

  • LegendInMyMind

    Shoot unlike the world has ever seen. Literally hit ANY SHOT ON THE COURT. That, playmaking, and defense made him infinitely greater than Scottie “MJ allowed me to play as well as I did” Pippen. Pippen was GREAT on ‘D’ and had a handle on the triangle. But he was a product of the system, purely. Bird was so much more skilled a player.

  • Joe Peterson

    Only shoot? Are you deluded? The man could pass, assist, rebound etc. and had a court awareness like few others ever in the NBA…. He also had a good defense game. Bird’s post-game is often forgotten and even though he could drive when the opportunity arose, this was not his strength.

  • Ruby Red

    I think you must be high on fumes lol. Bird isn’t even near the level Pippen was, that comment right there is hilarious. Lots of NBA players have said that Bird only got credit because he was white, which is true, if that were a black player with only the skill to shoot; he would be unheard of. Pippen is considered to be the best SF all-time, you went too far my friend lmao.

  • Ruby Red

    Actually, im on point. For some reason there you confused him with Kevin Durant haha.

  • LegendInMyMind

    Ya know, saying some outrageously idiotic thing with that much conviction doesn’t make it actually TRUE. Pippen is considered to be the BEST (consider what that means), by WHO, exactly? Look at his career stat line: 16.1ppg 5.2apg 6.4rpg 2spg and 0.8bpg. and he HELPED Jordan to 6 titles. Without Jordan, Pippen has 0, and he would’ve been owned by Reggie Miller and Patrick Ewing his whole career.

    Good call though, being racist. That’s a GREAT way to make a point. Well, that white guy who could only shoot posted 24.3ppg 10rpg 6.3apg 1.7spg and 0.8bpg. He trumps Pippen, statistically, in every categorically except for steals. And his percentages blow Scottie COMPLETELY out of the water.

    So yeah, Bird could “only shoot”. And I guess he could “only pass”, “only rebound”, “only run the offense”, “only orchestrate the defense”, and “only win 3 MVPs (Pippen had HOW MANY?), and 2 Finals MVPs and 3 Titles”. It’s ‘Larry Legend’, it ain’t ‘Scottie Legend’. There’s a lot more than just Bird ahead of Pippen on that “best SF all-time list” too. Like Elgin Baylor, John Havlicek, Julius Erving, and not to mention, Lebron James. Arguably Carmelo Anthony. Pip’s top 10 though.

  • LegendInMyMind

    Woman, you be trippin’.

  • wamo

    Well stated Legend. Ruby must be a child that never saw Larry play. He was remarkable.

  • Joe Peterson

    I have to believe that you never watched the man play except a few high light reals and/or maybe a ESPN classic game or two. .or ?

  • tenmer

    legend I agree 1000% bird the best small forward to ever play the game, until Jordan came along he was the best allaround player I had ever seen, and this is coming from a man of color

  • tenmer

    i agree %, young ppl 35 and under think pippen better than bird get real and I like pippen, but he’s not bird, who is the best small forward of all time hands down and is the 2 best clutch player of all time behind Jordan. it’s not about dunks and who can run the fastest or jump the highest, it’s about skillset, bird could make any shot u needed, 90% freethrw, 10 rebounds a game, pass and as clutch as any1 that has ever played the game, playing against the best players of all time, hen teams had 3 and 4 HOF on many of these teams with HOF centers, and tougher rules

  • tenmer

    I agree and I am a man of color, she never saw bird play

  • LegendInMyMind

    What’s sad is that a lot of the younger generation (which happens to be MY generation, as I’m 25) uses reasoning like “stop living in the past” as some sort of evidence that Lebron is the GOAT, for instance.

    Greatest of ALL TIME, and we’re supposed to stop “living in the past” in thinking of who that person is?? I watch old games, I research players who came before. I like the game, I want to know where things came from. Where’d Showtime start? Where did the Triangle originate? These are the questions that interest me and lead to a better understanding of the ‘hierarchy’ of the game.

  • James Stewart

    Bird could only shoot? Bird outplayed Pippen every time they met. Bird’s points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game dwarf Pippen. What are you thinking?

  • Ken Heidel

    WTF, Pippen! I don’t think he even squeaks into the top 20 all time. I am not sure Larry beats out Elgin Baylor for first team honors (27.4/13.5/4.3). But Havlicek (20.8/6.3/4.8) and Dr. J (24.2/8.4/5.2) are clearly on another level than Scottie (sidekick) Pippen.

    There are plenty of great, productive small forwards to consider before we start looking at classic second bananas like Pippen: LeBron James, Rick Barry, Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce. You need great role players on a great team – but you don’t need them on the all-time greatest teams.