Heat Media Day Basketball

Stan Van Gundy would put LeBron on his Mount Rushmore now


It’s been the barstool debate of the day around the NBA — who is on your Mt. Rushmore of the NBA?

LeBron James gave his (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson) then awakened the legions that want to hate him by saying when his career was over his face should be on that mountain.

Stan Van Gundy says it already should be.

Like the rest of us, Van Gundy struggled to narrow it down to four when asked about it on the Amani and Eytan Show on NBC Sports Radio Tuesday night.

“Man, you’re talking four guys on Mount Rushmore. So, for me, I got Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson there for sure, Michael Jordan and, probably… yea, I’ll put LeBron there.

“Look, you could probably throw a lot of other names at me and I’d say ‘yea,’ it’s tough. Really it’s tough. How do you leave out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? How do you leave out Magic Johnson? How do you leave out Larry Bird? How do you leave out Jerry West? We could go on and on, guys like Elgin Baylor, when you’re trying to get it to four guys it’s going to be hard. But on mine, yea, I’ll go with Wilt, Oscar, Michael Jordan and LeBron. That’s at least as good a four as anybody else is going to put up there.”

Here’s my question about the NBA’s Mount Rushmore: Does it have to be just players? If not, doesn’t David Stern or Red Auerbach get a spot for how they influenced and changed the game?

It’s hard to narrow the list down even if it is just players. Personally, I’d go with Magic, Jordan, Kareem and Bill Russell as players, but I’m not fully comfortable with that small a list. When it’s all said and done will LeBron be in that group? Maybe. He’s going to go down as the best athlete to ever play the game, but he’s in his prime now and we don’t know what the resume will look like when he hangs it up. A few years after he does, that’s when we can talk legacy with him.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.