“I’m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game,” James told Steve Smith last week during an 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."
James did say that right now, his top four players are Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson.
According to TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, Russell approached James at All-Star weekend in New Orleans to discuss his comments.
"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 honor,'” Sager said during the broadcast on Sunday.
“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, nine in between. And that, Mr. James, is etched in stone."
Russell is one of the biggest winners in the history of team sports and captured 11 championships as a member of the Celtics. Jordan won six, Johnson five, Bird three, James two and Robertson only has one.
The Celtic great was at the game to celebrate his 80th birthday. James, 29, is already a 10-time All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA selection.