Bill Russell would have enjoyed LeBron James as a teammate. Karl Malone loves that James has fun. Moses Malone appreciates that he and James were able to go straight from high school to the NBA and win multiple MVPs.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar admires James’ desire to be the best, and Bob Pettit sees his strength and conditioning commitment in James’ game.
In a virtual roundtable, Russell, 79; Abdul-Jabbar, 66; Karl Malone, 49; Moses Malone, 58; and Pettit, 80, who was the NBA’s first MVP winner in 1956, talked to USA TODAY Sports about MVPs and James, who won his fourth MVP on Sunday. Respect, admiration and appreciation for James emanated from the Hall of Famers, who are five of eight living retired players to win multiple MVPs.
“Let me tell you something,” Karl Malone said. “There’s just a few guys I would go see play. Now, I’m not going to pay to see any of them play. But there are some guys that I like to see play, and to see how LeBron is playing with such a confidence and an aura about him, I absolutely love it.”
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