King (LeBron) James was placed in check this week by ESPN anchor Bob Ley and NBA great Bill Russell, who each took exception to comments made by the Miami Heat star.
Before scoring a season-high 42 points this week in Dallas in Miami’s win over the Mavericks, James offered advice to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on how to handle high expectations.
“Just don’t care what everybody thinks,” James said. “Don’t watch ESPN and all these so-called ‘everyone knows what to do that ain’t never put on a uniform, trying to tell you what to do’ (shows).”
Ley, the acclaimed host of “Outside the Lines,” thought James’ shot at ESPN was hypocritical and took to Twitter to tell him about it.
“Help me here, @KingJames,” Ley wrote. ““Don’t watch ESPN.” – except when you’re the focus of a 1 hr show announcing your free agent destination?”
James ruffled Russell’s feathers when he left the 11-time NBA champion off his personal Mount Rushmore of league greats during an NBA TV interview. A four-time league Most Valuable Player, James picked Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as his top four, but said they’ll eventually have to make room for him.
“I’m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game. For sure,” the humble James said. “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.”
Apprised of James’ picks, Russell replied, “Hey, thank you for leaving me off your Mount Rushmore. 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.”
Russell, arguably the greatest defensive player in NBA history, recently turned 80, but he’s clearly still capable of a great comeback.
■ HELLO DOLLY — In a bizarre but true story, Denver Broncos wideout Wes Welker and his wife, Anna, spent some quality time with a blowup doll during their recent vacation in the British Virgin Islands. Boston radio host Kevin Karlson tweeted a picture of the apparently tight-knit trio relaxing on the beach together in lounge chairs.
Another photo on bustedcoverage.com shows Welker’s wife, a former Miss Hooters International, holding the defenseless receiver. Wes was seated next to them.
The doll reportedly scored more during the trip than Denver did in the Super Bowl.
■ IVERSON II — Louisville 6-foot guard Russ Smith is the second coming of former NBA star Allen Iverson, an NBA scout said this week.
“He’s definitely, to me, a clone of Allen Iverson,” the unnamed scout said. “He has a similar body type. He gets to the basket. He scores and has that mentality.”
Apprised of the comparison, Smith reportedly skipped practice the next day and blew all of his money.
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL