Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
If you didn’t catch this in last night’s All Star game telecast, you missed Bill Russell putting LeBron James in his place over this whole “Mt. Rushmore” discussion. This is what Craig Sager relayed to the broadcast crew when they tossed to him after the first quarter (at the 1:15 mark of the video above).
“Before the game, LeBron James was talking to Bill Russell and Bill said ‘hey, thank you for leaving me off your Mount Rushmore.’ He said ‘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.”
Now, I will say this: There is a LOT of irrational LeBron James hate around here. People got seriously pissed when we posted a video that called him a villain.
But he doesn’t do himself any favors either. The Mt. Rushmore talk is totally subjective, and when you’re picking 4 of the greatest out of all the greatest, someone is going to get left off. But leaving Russell off left LeBron open to this wonderfully stinging evisceration. Not only did it give Russell an opportunity to whip of a resume that is impossible to match, he did it right to LeBron’s face like a total bad-ass, and he did it in a way that would make most people feel a foot tall.
Remember this about LeBron… when he went to Miami, he said he gave up his number 23 because he said no one should wear it after Michael Jordan. He then chose 6….
Intentional slight? Nah, probably not. It’s probably more lack of historical awareness. Still, these are the things LeBron does to fuel the hatred. A lot of what he does happens because he’s never had anyone tell him no once he became a basketball phenom. Luckily, Bill Russell doesn’t give a shit who you are. When he’s got a piece of his mind to give, you’ll sit there and take it.
And just in case that wasn’t awesome proof enough for you, this little story from the Legend’s Brunch just hammers home that Russ is the baddest man on the planet.
Russell admitted that he never much enjoyed participating in All-Star Games because, in his heart, he only played basketball for the Celtics. But in 1963 in Los Angeles, he invited his father to the game and told him, “We’re going to win and I’m going to win MVP.” The next day, Russell did just that with 19 points and 24 rebounds in a 115-108 East victory.
His father’s reaction? “I didn’t know you were that good.”
“I never talked about basketball with my family,” Russell said. “But my father was my hero. He taught me to be a man by being one.”
And now, when Russell sits in the stands to watch the game’s current elite performers in the All-Star Game? “I hate to admit it,” he said, revving up for another cackle. “My thought is, I can kick his ass.’ “
Baddest. Man. Alive.
Page 2: The Celtics may be struggling, but attendance isn’t
If you are a Celtics fan and you go to games at the Garden, then you have been part of the conversation at NBA All-Star Weekend. Officials from other teams admire your loyalty, and there might even be some envy.
According to ESPN’s figures, the Celts are filling 96.6 percent of their seats at home. They’re attracting people at a higher rate of their capacity than eight teams that are currently holding down playoff seeds. Only one of those teams, Portland, is averaging more people per game.
This is maybe a little self-congratulatory, but screw it… we deserve a little pat on the back.
I don’t expect fans to fill the arena for Tuesday nights against the Bucks. But despite the struggles, the Celtics are still drawing plenty of fans. When you look at how many empty seats there have been in arenas hosting playoff teams (Atlanta) or eventual champions (Miami), it’s nice to see a fan base stick by its team in down times too.
And I’m sure the team thanks you… those $8 beers aren’t going to drink themselves.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: The Celtics still have things to play for | Globe: Silver would like to raise the minimum draft age | CSNNE: Love: Free agents would love to go to Boston | East gets by Durant, Griffin, wins All Star Game