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Larry Bird: LeBron James is as Good as Anyone Ever

Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen committed high treason when he said LeBron James may be the greatest basketball player ever. Not only was it questionable because LeBron James had never won a title when he said it (and still hasn’t), but also because Pippen played alongside Michael Jordan, who is considered to be the greatest player all time. Another player whose name is mentioned in the “all-time greats” conversation is Larry Bird, who won three championships with the Boston Celtics.

Bird, who recently has been compared to Dirk Nowitzki, went on Galloway & Co in Dallas Thursday and was asked if he felt badly about the criticism LeBron James has received. Here was his answer as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews (with a few edits). The audio clip is also below:

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Cavs Should Take Derrick Williams No. 1 in NBA Draft, Not Kyrie Irving

Convention says the Cleveland Cavaliers should take point guard Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Irving’s the safe pick, the “smart” choice, the guy who won’t send Cavs fans into the depths of agony again with a Decision-like defection. He’s the rebound girl.

He may not be “the one,” but at least he won’t break your heart.

The scouting report on Duke’s finest ranges from “above average NBA point guard” to “a one-car garage version of Chris Paul.” He’s the anti-LeBron James, a humble “sir” mumbler from a structured background and a pedigree school. He can run an offense and shoot the ball, but he won’t blow you away with his physical tools or his athleticism.

Having just had a long-term relationship go horribly wrong, a LeBron-type is exactly the type Cleveland is trying to avoid. They’re shell shocked. When LBJ took his talents to South Beach, it scarred them. Now they’d rather go with a “sure thing” than be challenged.

They don’t want to get hurt again.

Unfortunately, this is a mindset that’s leading them away from Derrick Williams, the most talented player in the draft and arguably its only true impact player. And that’s bad news because playing it safe never got anybody anywhere in the NBA. Just look at how the 2006 draft worked out for Toronto. Andrea Bargnani’s a good player, but he’s never going to lead the Raptors anywhere significant.

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Amar’e Stoudemire: LeBron Can’t Connect With People Like Michael Jordan

Yes, people are really piling it on LeBron James. Keep in mind the guy has more money than he could ever know what to do with and is his own biggest fan, so there’s no need to feel too badly for him.  As far as Amar’e Stoudemire is concerned, we shouldn’t feel sorry for LeBron because the way he acts has resulted in people rooting for him to fail.

It’s no secret that jealousy breeds hatred, but I can’t ever remember a dollar store going out of their way and altering their profit margin just to make fun of Michael Jordan.  Stoudemire shared his thoughts on”King James” with the NY Times on Wednesday:

“I think you have to conduct yourself in a way that people can relate to you,” the Knicks All-Star forward said. “The more they can relate to you, the more they will appreciate you.”

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Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Carlisle Want Ring Over Mark Cuban’s Bracelet Idea

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said after his team won the NBA title that championship rings are done and that he wanted to take the tradition to the next level. We’ve seen plenty of ideas ranging from statues to private islands, but our personal favorite is mini-giraffes. And if Cuban is planning to take it to the next level, he better be going exotic with his idea. As it stands, the notion that he’s just going to get the team bracelets is pretty weak.

Speaking on PTI Tuesday, Dirk Nowitzki agreed. “I’m an old school guy and when he brought that idea up I think the whole team was a little dumbfounded,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t think the last word has been spoken there. I think he was thinking about a bracelet or something but the ring is just so classic and everybody I think wants a ring.”

In separate yet related comments, Dirk said “I’m a man, I don’t know how I’d feel about a bracelet.”

Coach Rick Carlisle expressed a similar sentiment saying “It’s got to be rings. I don’t know what [Cuban's] thinking. You win an NBA championship, you gotta have a ring. If he wants to give guys something else (in addition to) a ring, that’s great.”

I’m in agreement with what Carlisle said. Cuban can get his team something else, but he should also get them rings. And if he’s making this big of a deal over bracelets as Dirk intimated, then I’d be really disappointed. That’s not next level, that’s poker stuff. When we think of Mark Cuban and next level, we think of private islands, customized cars, and heck even NBA franchises. There’s no way he’s going to do bracelets, so the suspense is mounting.

Houston Bargain Store Drops Prices to Make Fun of LeBron James

Breaking news: LeBron James is not Michael Jordan.  After a poor individual showing in the last few games of the NBA Finals, the media-proclaimed and self-embraced “King” still has zero championship rings — exactly six less than the man he is so often compared to.  LeBron was as clutch as they come for most of the postseason but couldn’t seem to close when the trophy was within reach.

Criticism of King James certainly hasn’t been lacking over the past couple days.  DeShawn Stevenson made headlines with his “How’s My Dirk Taste?” t-shirt while guys like Rory McIlroy found themselves defending LeBron for whatever reason.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if you are going to voice it publicly you might as well find a way to be clever.  That’s why we can all appreciate the Houston-area dollar store that dropped their prices from 99 cents to 75 cents in honor of LeBron never being able to put together a fourth quarter.

My friend told me a similar joke yesterday, but the fact that a store was able to turn it into a marketing scheme and take advantage of LeBron’s reputation as a choke artist is classic.  Most people hate LeBron James and want him to fail.  It’s nice to know there are people out there who can put a unique spin on such a common opinion.  H/T to Deadspin for the pic via.

Mikhail Prokhorov Takes Shot at Mark Cuban While Complimenting Mavs

Since Mikhail Prokhorov has taken over as owner of the New Jersey Nets, he and Mavs owner Mark Cuban seem to have developed somewhat of a love-hate relationship.  The two teams aren’t rivals or anything, so the banter between them cannot be taken for much more than friendly word play.  In any event, the dynamic between them is entertaining.

Just a few short months after Prokhorov took the reins in New Jersey, Cuban was already criticizing the way he runs the team.  One of Cuban’s main issues with Mikhail’s style is that he rarely shows up to games.  As we told you before, the Nets seemed to play better in their owner’s presence, so Cuban may have been onto something.

Cuban remained unusually quiet throughout the entire postseason as he watched his Mavs go on to upset the Miami Heat and win the franchise’s first ever NBA Championship.  Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki voiced his opinion about Marky Mark staying out of the spotlight during the run a few weeks back, and Prokhorov alluded to it as well on Thursday when he congratulated Cuban with a note.  Here is what the letter said courtesy of Nets Daily via SB Nation:

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Rory McIlroy Defends LeBron James from Media Criticism

While LeBron James is taking a public beating from fans and the media, he can take comfort in knowing he at least has one supporter. Golfer and fellow sports prodigy, Rory McIlroy, defended the star Heat player to reporters Tuesday.

Speaking at Congressional where the U.S. Open will be held this week, McIlroy said of LeBron “I think he’s been unfairly scrutinized. Everyone is going to have bad days, if it’s on a golf course or on a basketball court. And with sports these days everything is over-analyzed, stats here, stats there, how has your team combined points in the last quarter of the Finals or whatever. It’s just one of those things.”

McIlory continued to put things in perspective. “If people keep talking about having a bad last quarter all the time, it’s going to sort of get to you,” the young golfer said. “But he’s got plenty more chances to win Finals. And I’m sure the Heat will have a chance to win it again next year.”

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