Kobe Bryant’s Rushmore: Magic, Bird, Jordan, Russell
By MARK POTASH Staff Reporter February 16, 2014 10:25PM
East Team's LeBron James, of the Miami Heat (6) dunks the ball against the West Team during the NBA All Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) ORG XMIT: LAMS1
Updated: February 16, 2014 11:41PM
NEW ORLEANS — LeBron James is doing for Mount Rushmore what Peyton Manning did for Omaha.
James caused a stir this week when he put Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson on his Mount Rushmore of all-time NBA superstars and added that he eventually expects to supplant one of them.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant was asked Sunday before the All-Star Game for his NBA Mount Rushmore.
‘‘I would say Magic, Bird, Michael and [Bill] Russell,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘It’s impossible to do four, though. That’s crazy. That’s tough.’’
Bryant was unable to play in the All-Star Game because of a fractured knee. But his star power was evident when more than 100 reporters from around the world packed the interview room for a pregame news conference. Bryant, who has played in six games this season, acknowledged he’s not close to returning. He would not say if he’ll play again this season.
‘‘It’s coming slowly,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m optimistic [that] coming out of the break I’ll have some improvements once I get back to L.A. and do a couple of follow-ups. But it’s been a slow process.’’
Joakim fan club
Joakim Noah can be difficult and frustrating to play against, but Clippers guard Chris Paul is a big fan.
‘‘I really like this guy,’’ Paul said. ‘‘Joakim is a guy that I really respect in our league — somebody I think guys hate to play against but would love for him to be on your team. So I’m a big Joakim Noah fan.’’
Wall of Fame
The Wizards’ John Wall won the ‘‘Dunker of the Night’’ award with a dunk that any great dunker would be proud of — he jumped over the Wizards’ mascot, grabbed a ball from his hands, then pumped for a two-hand reverse dunk.
But the competition itself failed to live up to the lofty standards set by Dominique Wilkins — a judge at this year’s contest — and Jordan at the 1988 All-Star Game at Chicago Stadium.
‘‘[The best] of all time,’’ Wilkins said.
And he didn’t even win it — losing to Jordan in a controversial decision that was considered home cookin’.
‘‘I don’t look at it like that,’’ Wilkins said. ‘‘Should I have won that? Probably. But when you do something for the fans, it’s really not about you. That’s how Mike and I looked at it. We put on a show. We competed. We wanted to win. But it was a show for the fans.’’