While LeBron James certainly deserves to have his name in the conversation when discussing the best NBA player of the past three decades, one aspect of James' game is severely lacking.
Compared to a couple of the other players who would be mentioned alongside James, namely Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, LeBron's trash talking is decidedly poor.
And it's not just James who is reluctant to run his mouth. Bryant says many players of James' generation prefer to let their game do the talking. For Bryant, that's downright sad.
The lack of smack is so bad, in fact, that in a recent interview with ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan, Bryant seemed almost upset that he couldn't have more fun with James.
"They don't seem to want to talk any trash," Bryant said of James' generation. "I say everything to LeBron. He says nothing back. He just laughs. There's no banter back and forth. I guess it's a generational thing. When I first came into the league, the trash talk was downright cutthroat."
There's a certain camaraderie among younger players that hasn't existed before this generation. That friendship was started in high school All-Star camps and on AAU squads. Over time, James and his cohorts, players like Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony, became close with each other.
So when a veteran like Kevin Garnett tries to talk trash a younger player, like Anthony, sometimes the younger guy sees it as crossing the line.
There are fewer and fewer instances when trash-talk is accepted and returned. So for Kobe, one of the joys in playing the Boston Celtics is going up against someone who can (nearly) go toe-for-toe when it comes to trash.
"If there's one Celtic that tries to talk smack to me, it will be [Paul Pierce]," Bryant said. "We're similar in age, have been through some of the same things, so he feels like he can try. But he's not as good at it as I am. I don't talk trash often, but when I do, I go for the jugular."
(H/T to Larry Brown Sports)