The Washington Post

Larry Bird would rather play with Kobe Bryant than LeBron James; Would you?

Who wouldn’t pick me? (Colin E. Braley/AP)

It’s a question that has been posed to just about every NBA analyst over the last few years as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James remain atop the league’s star-studded landscape.

In a recent interview on the “B.S. Report” with’s Bill Simmons, Hall of Famer Larry Bird was asked which active NBA player he would most like to have as a teammate. Naturally, his decision came down to Kobe and LeBron.

“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.”

When selecting the ideal teammate, several factors should be considered. Do you want an elite facilitator like reigning MVP Derrick Rose or Rajon Rondo, who can set you up for shots? Or is it better to have a dominant big man like Dwight Howard to take over the paint and allow perimeter players to feast on the outside? Would you rather play alongside a clutch fourth-quarter performer like Bryant or an all-world physical talent like James?

Do you agree with Bird on the Kobe vs. LeBron debate?

If your ideal teammate is another NBA player — Rose, Howard, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul or someone else (Jeremy Lin?) — tell us who and why in the comments below.

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.

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