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Jordan, who retired for the last time with more than 32,000 points, is perhaps known as much by the younger generation of stars for his namesake Nike shoe as for his basketball skills.

“The imprint he’s had on the league, he’s an immortal,” Bryant said. “Everything that he’s done from the business aspect to his professionalism to his work ethic to the global appeal of the game has been something that carries on for generations and generations.”

Jordan didn’t make himself available to the press during All-Star weekend. James said this week that he wasn’t too concerned with the TV remarks.

“At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career,” James said. “If that’s the case, then I would sit up here and say that I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan, but Russell has 11 rings and Jordan has six. Or I’d take, I don’t know, Robert Horry over Jordan. I wouldn’t do that. But it’s your own personal opinion.”

“Patrick Ewing is one of the greatest of all time,” he continued. “Reggie Miller is one of the greatest of all time. Sometimes, it’s a situation that you’re in, it’s the team that you’re in. It’s about timing as well.”

One of the most common sentiments echoed by players this week when talking about Jordan was disbelief that he was turning 50.

“Time actually flies,” Bryant said. “Him turning 50, this will be my 17th year, my 15th All-Star Game. Where did the time go?”