A lot of talk during All-Star Weekend has focused on the mythical NBA Mount Rushmore. LeBron James initially started the discussion, naming Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Oscar Robertson.
Kobe Bryant joined in, also naming Johnson, Jordan, and Bird, but adding Celtics legend Bill Russell to the esteemed list.
Last night, all of the players took time to sing Happy Birthday to Russell during the All-Star Game. Afterwards, Russell spoke to the players, and according to TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, had some words for James:
Hey, thank you for leaving me off your Mount Rushmore. 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, and nine in between. That, Mr. James, is etched in stone
Strong words from the greatest winner in the history of professional sports. Russell’s focus was always on winning and he did that better than anyone.
Russell is basketball royalty. Every player in the NBA respects and admires him, and when he speaks, everybody listens.
The fact that Russell took the time to not only speak to James, but to basically chastise him for not valuing winning, has to stand out and stick with James.
Even as Russell grows older, his legend and dedication to winning never changes.
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