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Larry Bird: "If I Want To Win, I'm Playing With Kobe. If I Want To Have Fun, I'm Playing With LeBron."

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Back in 2012, LeBron was coming off his first season as part of the Miami Heat, losing the NBA Finals against the surprising Dallas Mavericks in 6 games in 2011. Bron was still trying to prove his worth in the league amid plenty of criticism after two losses in the Finals, one in 2007 against the Spurs and the aforementioned versus Dallas.

Not only fans had doubts about Bron, but legends as well. For instance, Larry Bird made a bold statement that year, comparing James to the late Kobe Bryant. During an interview with Bill Simmons, the Celtics legend was asked who he'd rather play with between the King and the Mamba.

"Well, probably Kobe, because of the fact that ... well, of course he wouldn't have been shooting as much as he does now ... but his desire to win, his dedication, to always get better, uh, and he's just, he's just tough," Bird said. "He's just a tough cat.

"But, if you want to have fun, like I did with Bill Walton, play with LeBron. It would have probably been more fun to play with LeBron, but if you want to win and win and win, it's Kobe. Not that LeBron's not a winner, just that [Kobe's] mindset is to go into every practice, every game, to get better."

Later that season, LeBron would catch his first NBA championship when he beat a young Oklahoma City Thunder team in 5 games, but at that time, he agreed with Bird, saying "It's simple, Kobe has five rings and I have none." Bron would win two more titles, another with Miami and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, he hasn't caught Kobe Bryant in terms of rings, and let's not talk about Michael Jordan. Bron demonstrated he can win and he is still the best player in the world at age 35, playing his 17th season in the league. He's still a fun player to watch, but it's not the same mindset Kobe or MJ had.