When LeBron James reacted to Larry Bird wanting to play with Kobe Bryant instead of him: “I’m an easy target, and I understand that”

LeBron says Bird picked Kobe because he had five rings, and he had none.

Back in 2012, Bill Simmons asked Larry Bird whom he’d rather have as a teammate – Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. Instead of answering the question directly, Larry Legend gave a controversial reply.

Bird said that if he wanted to win, he would pick Kobe. But if he wanted to have fun, he would choose LeBron. When word of Larry’s statement reached Bron, the young King said the Celtics legend was merely counting championships.


“I mean, it’s simple,” James said. “Kobe has five rings, and I have none. It’s easy to say that. If I got five rings and Kobe had none, it’d probably be the other way around.”

An easy target

When Bird was interviewed, Kobe had won five NBA championships, three with Shaq and two with Pau Gasol. Meanwhile, LeBron’s Big 3 Heat were upset by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. So, as far as LBJ was concerned, Larry merely picked Bryant because of rings.

Aside from that, LeBron also said he was the most recognizable personality and the best player in the league during that time. Because of that, every mistake he made became a big thing, and it was always too easy for his critics to throw stones at him.


“I’m an easy target — let’s say that,” added James. “When someone wants to get a point across, just throw LeBron’s name in there. If you’re watching cartoons with your kids and you don’t like i,t you say, ‘Blame it on LeBron.’ If you go to the grocery store and they don’t have the milk that you like, you say, ‘It’s LeBron’s fault. I’m an easy target, and I understand that. It doesn’t get to me at all.”

LeBron is the most scrutinized player in NBA history

James was the most highly-touted prospect in the history of the league, and because of the hype surrounding him, expectations were high. But no matter how high those expectations were, LeBron always passed them with flying colors. Well, everything except winning in the NBA Finals.

That year, James was still looking for his first-ever NBA championship. He took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA Finals, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Then, in his first season in Miami, the Heat were stunned by the Dallas Mavericks during the 2011 NBA Finals. With an 0-2 Finals record at that time, why would Bird pick him over Kobe?


Since then, LeBron has won a total of four championships for three different cities. He captured back-to-back titles in Miami in 2011-12 and 2012-13, got the Cavs their first-ever chip in 2015-16, and added the Lakers’ 17th banner in 2019-20. James is also now the NBA’s all-time scoring leader so it’s interesting to see if Larry would still pick Kobe over him right now.


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