LeBron James put himself on the NBA’s hypothetical Mount Rushmore last week, leaving out some of the best players who have ever played the game in the process. Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell was one of them.
Russell won 11 NBA championships — that’s right, 11 — during his 14-year NBA career. His run included eight-straight NBA titles from 1959 to 1956, which probably put fans of every other NBA team to sleep for the better part of a decade. At the All-Star Game on Sunday night, TNT’s Craig Sager said Russell had a word with LeBron about his Mount Rushmore.
“LeBron James was talking to Bill Russell and Bill said, ‘Hey, thank you for leaving me off your Mount Rushmore.’ He said, ‘I’m glad you did. Basketball is a team game, it’s not for individual honors. I won back-to-back state championships in high school, back-to-back NCAA championships in college, I won an NBA championship my first year in the league, an NBA championship in my last year, nine in between. And that, Mr. James, is etched in stone.”
LeBron has said several times (mostly before he won his first championship) that he does not believe championships define a career. The thing that irritated most people about LeBron’s Mount Rushmore is that he put himself on it, which is awfully cocky.
Kobe Bryant was also asked the Mount Rushmore question on Sunday night, and he gave a more humble response than King James.
“I would say Magic, Bird, Michael, and Russell,” Bryant said, via ESPNLosAngeles.com. “That’s impossible to do four, though, man. Come on. That’s crazy. That’s tough. Absolutely tough.”
Bryant said there is no way to not leave someone out when choosing four people, which is true. However, LeBron could have left one less person out by not choosing himself. That was probably the message Russell was trying to relay to him.
Video via Red’s Army