lebron james

LeBron James respects his elders among the NBA’s greatest players of all time. Right now, he just doesn’t agree with two of them: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

In a week dominated by league-wide debate and comparisons between James and Jordan (who will turn 50 on Sunday), James fired back again regarding Jordan’s claim he’d pick Kobe Bryant as the NBA’s best player.

Speaking with reporters during Friday’s All-Star media day, James said he doesn’t believe championships should always be the key factor in deciding comparative greatness.

“(Jordan) said he would take Kobe over me because … five rings are better than one, and the last time he checked, five is better than one,” James said. “At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career. If that’s the case, then I’d sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. But I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan. Russell has 11 rings, Jordan has six. I wouldn’t do that.”

James won his first championship with the Heat last season while Bryant has won five with the Los Angeles Lakers. Friday’s response from James came after Jordan initially said during an interview with NBA TV that he’d have a tough time deciding between Bryant and James.

– Reported by Michael Wallace of ESPN.com