According to (TNT analyst Craig Sager), Russell told him, “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 my last year, and nine in between. And that, Mr. James, is etched in stone.”
That left James again caught up in a Rushmore rush after Monday’s practice at American Airlines Center, in advance of Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
“Well, obviously there’s the utmost respect for Bill Russell and what he’s been able to do, and not only on the floor, but off the floor, too, being a pioneer, being one of the leaders that helped us get to this point,” James said. “He paved the way for myself and the guys that came after him.
“For me to comment on his comments, it doesn’t really matter to me. He has his own opinions. He’s his own man and I’m my own man, too.”
“The facts are the facts and that’s what I believe in myself,” he said. “Once again, these are my personal goals. I don’t care where no one else puts me, as far as where the best ever, or analysts or so-called gurus of basketball, place me when I’m done.
“These are my personal goals. I believe I can be one of the best, if not the best to ever play this game and that’s my personal goal. If someone wants to throw dirt on my own, personal goals, then they have a problem, not me.”