DALLAS -- If only Mount Rushmore could have been built as fast as LeBron James' comments about his personal NBA Mount Rushmore have been deconstructed.
Monday, it was a case of arguably the game's all-time greatest defensive player putting the Miami Heat forward on the defensive.
In the wake of James offering up during an NBA TV interview his NBA Mount Rushmore of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson, while also saying he could eventually see himself carving a place for himself, TNT analyst Craig Sager brought up the subject to legendary Boston Celtics center Bill Russell.
According to Sager, Russell told him, "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 my last year, and nine in between. And that, Mr. James, is etched in stone."
That left James again caught up in a Rushmore rush after Monday's practice at American Airlines Center, in advance of Tuesday's game against the Dallas Mavericks.
"Well, obviously there's the utmost respect for Bill Russell and what he's been able to do, and not only on the floor, but off the floor, too, being a pioneer, being one of the leaders that helped us get to this point," James said. "He paved the way for myself and the guys that came after him.
"For me to comment on his comments, it doesn't really matter to me. He has his own opinions. He's his own man and I'm my own man, too."
James' disappointment was how a snippet from the hour-long interview took on a life of its own.
"The facts are the facts, and that's what I believe in myself," he said. "Once again, these are my personal goals. I don't care where no one else puts me, as far as where the best ever, or analysts or so-called gurus of basketball, place me when I'm done.
"These are my personal goals. I believe I can be one of the best, if not the best to ever play this game and that's my personal goal. If someone wants to throw dirt on my own, personal goals, then they have a problem, not me."
DUNK BLACKOUT: James declined to comment Monday about the uneven All-Star Saturday dunk contest, and not because of any particular opinions about the event.
"I didn't even watch it," he said. "I didn't watch it not because I didn't want to, but TNT was the only channel that wasn't working on my television that night. I promise you, that is a fact; that is absolute fact. If you ask anybody who stayed at the Ritz on Canal Street, ask them if TNT worked.
"I turned to it and it said, 'Satellite is not coming in.' So, I have no idea. I haven't seen it. I've seen some of the clips. So I ended up watching Florida and Kentucky, and that was on at the same time. And that was a great game."
WADE'S WORK: Coach Erik Spoelstra said guard Dwyane Wade, who missed the two games before the All-Star break due to a migraine and then a foot ailment, went through all of Monday evening's practice.
"I didn't notice anything today," Spoelstra said. "He went through every drill, full contact, full speed."
Wade played just 11 minutes, 41 seconds in Sunday's All-Star Game.
Wade said that was the plan going in with East coach Frank Vogel, coach of the Indiana Pacers.
"We talked and I told him exactly what I wanted to do," Wade said. "Once I got into the second half, I wanted to play a little more."
Wade found All-Star Weekend draining.
"All-Star Weekend's never been restful," he said. "Mentally, it's not a rest."
BEASLEY'S BURDEN: After playing forward Michael Beasley 24 minutes in Wade's absence in the final game before the All-Star break, the road victory over the Golden State Warriors, Spoelstra made no guarantees going forward.
"Mike was able to give us energy and an offensive punch off the bench," Spoelstra said. "Does that necessarily translate to (Tuesday) night? Not necessarily. But we have full confidence in him, and now he's a like a roster of guys we have on the bench that are capable and ready to step up when their number is called."
(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services