Posted February 14, 2014

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Karl Malone discuss NBA’s ‘Mount Rushmore’

Ben Golliver, Karl Malone, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James

LeBron James said he will be on the NBA’s “Mount Rushmore” when he retires. (Thearon W. Henderson/NBA/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS — LeBron James’ assessment of the NBA’s “Mount Rushmore” and his prediction that he would earn a spot among the league’s top four all-time greats when he retired were hot topics at Friday’s All-Star media availability.

The four-time MVP selected Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson as his top four in an NBA TV interview, but added that room would need to be made for him whenever he decides to call it quits.

“I’m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game,” James said in the interview. “For sure. And if they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they better find another spot. We’ve got to bump somebody. Somebody got to get bumped. That’s not for me to decide. That’s for the architects, to chisel somebody’s face out and put mine up there.”

On Friday, James stood by his selections and named two Lakers greats when prompted for his top snubs.

“Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and Kobe [Bryant],” he said. “Those are two guys that came to my mind too. It’s hard to knock anybody off. There needs to be another mountain built. It’s too many guys. I definitely was thinking about Kobe as a top-four of all time, Kareem, for sure. There are so many greats that have played this game.”

Thunder forward Kevin Durant, meanwhile, argued that Abdul-Jabbar would replace Robertson on his own Mount Rushmore.

“If I had a four, it would be Michael, Larry, Magic and Kareem,” Durant said. “[Abdul-Jabbar is] the all-time leader in points. How many championships does he got? Multiple championships. MVPs. He’s got it all. As far as accolades and championships, he’s got it all.”

Indeed, Abdul-Jabbar won six titles, six MVP awards and was a 19-time All-Star during his Hall of Fame career. He remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points.

Jazz great Karl Malone, a two-time MVP, 14-time All-Star and No. 2 on the all-time scoring list, humorously declined to pick his own Mount Rushmore. The Mailman’s lack of championship credentials hurts his standing in this type of conversation, and he bristled in general at the concept of ranking the game’s all-time greats.

“Unless it’s something to do about hunting and fishing, it ain’t a lot of s— on Mount Rushmore,” he said. “I don’t have nobody up there. If it ain’t some hunting and fishing up there, I have no desire to be up there. I don’t have one. I don’t know who started top four, top five and all of that. That’s a crock. You can’t get four or five.”

Still, Malone had no problem with James’ assertions, going so far as to defend his right to make such sweeping legacy statements.

“If you’re as good as [James] and you go out and back it up, you can say what the hell you want to say,” Malone concluded.

During the 2013 All-Star media availability, James acknowledged that his goal was to supplant Jordan — who he called his “inspiration” and one of his childhood heroes — as the greatest player of all time.

That approach remain the same one year later.

“There’s no reason I couldn’t be number one,” James said. “Any time I bring up a subject or answer a question, guys like to dissect it and make it bigger or smaller than what it is. Those are my personal goals. My personal goal is to be the greatest of all time. I don’t really care what other people say. Where they put me, how they define me. You can have a poll of 100 people: ‘What do you think?’ That’s not for me to care about. For me, I have an opportunity to maximize my career, be the greatest of all time, and I feel like I can do that.”

10 comments
bambam824
bambam824

If you carve rushmore today, scottie pippen, as well as many other players would be ahead of lebron for a spot in rock.

LaytonHarman
LaytonHarman

Here's a quick piece I did after LeBron James and Kobe Bryant gave their NBA Versions of Mt. Rushmore. I end up giving my NBA's version of Mt. Rushmore. Feel free to check it out and then leave your NBA version of Mt.Rushmore in the comment section if you wish to do so! http://kcsportsninja.com/nba-mt-rushmore-whos-on-yours/

WendellW
WendellW

Amazing how one man's ASPIRATIONS of wanting to become one of the best NBA players of all time can rattle the cages of so many.  Reminds me of when Muhammad Ali proclaimed he was the greatest of all time.  Publicly maligned (to put it nicely) at the time, it's ironic how today he is often referred to as being just that -- The Greatest Of All Time.  Not saying LBJ will ever achieve this accolade in NBA history, but the witch-hunting from back in Ali's days is obviously still alive and well.

wetmouse
wetmouse

LeBron better than Jordan?

Nope.

Better than Magic?

Nope.

Better than Wilt?

Nope.

Better than Russell or Kareem? 

Nope. 

There's no room for LeBron on Mt Rushmore.

Mt Everest? Yes. But not Rushmore.


JordanGOAT
JordanGOAT

@KnicksChamp You live to diss LeBron it seems. Looking at your avatar just discredit anything you have to say. There is life beyond Bron just to let you know. People like you, yes you, always tend to hate on other's success because you cannot achieve half of what these guys have achieved. 

Do you even play bball? 

Oh btw before you go crazy replying, 

as of this moment, feb 2014, KD is having a better mvp caliber season than Bron therefore if you ask me to pick a MVP now, I would pick Durant. Don't forget Blake and co as well. So many guys are still in the mix but DUrant is exceptional. 

You see, you don't have to hate someone so much to appreciate the game. I personally, watch different players play to actually learn a thing or two. Mind you, it's not just bball im talking about, I tend to look at how these people handle things. Things like when you lose/get injured, how hard you fight to get back. 

JordanGOAT
JordanGOAT

@wetmouse Haters like you just make us real basketball fans look bad. Stop it.

JordanGOAT
JordanGOAT

@kazukool23 Yeah Bill Russel should be in the mix, not only for his bball abilities but for his stories and character as well. 

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@kazukool23  Wilt?  Russell had a MUCH better team, teammates and organization around him than Wilt.  What Wilt did, numbers wise was incredible.  


BOTH Russell and Wilt are near the very top.