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Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

In his 20 NBA seasons, Kobe Bryant has faced a number of brilliant players: vets near the end of their careers, such as Karl Malone and John Stockton; fellow stars who entered the league around his time, such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett; newer standouts such as Dwyane Wade and Stephen Curry.

None of those made his top five "toughest players to face" list. As relayed by our own Baxter Holmes, here it is:

Michael Jordan? No surprise. LeBron James? Not really either. Kevin Durant? When he's healthy, he's electric. And Hakeem Olajuwon? There's a reason they call him The Dream. The biggest surprise, perhaps, is Clyde Drexler -- but no one is about to claim he wasn't great.

The key point is the second thing Bryant told Holmes: It is hard to choose a top five from 1996 to 2015.

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Karl-Anthony Towns is a burgeoning double-double machine for the Minnesota Timberwolves and an early front-runner for rookie of the year honors, but before he cruised through a heralded one-year stint at Kentucky into the NBA, he was a Kevin Durant fan, just like everyone else.

In a clip that recently resurfaced on, "Karl Towns" -- then just a talented high schooler from New Jersey -- got a chance to interview Durant, whom he called one of his "basketball idols."

TNT dug up the footage to air during the Warriors-Timberwolves game Thursday night in Minneapolis.

Towns, who turns 20 on Sunday, hides any nervousness pretty well, especially for a kid right in the middle of his awkward teen years. According to HoopsHype, the exchange left an impression on Durant as well.

"He was really sharp," Durant said. "He was wise beyond his years and that's something I picked up on really as soon as I started talking to him."

Towns, who is averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game this season, will get his first chance to share an NBA court with Durant, now 27, on Jan. 12, when Minnesota travels to Oklahoma City.

h/t r/NBA

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When will NBA players learn to acknowledge Lil B? Has James Harden's less-than-impressive start to the season and Kevin Durant's injury-plagued 2014-2015 season simply been written off as coincidence?

The proof is in the pudding, and in this case, the pudding indicates that The Based God's curse is bringing people down. OK, maybe it's not certain, but who wants to risk it?

Russell Westbrook, apparently. In an interview with Complex Sports, the Oklahoma City Thunder star was asked about the rapper, and he claimed he hadn't heard of him. It went like this:

How do you feel about Lil B's fashion choices?


Lil B.

Who is that?

You don't know the Based God?

Nah. I don't know who that is.

You've never heard of him?


Funny, that is the exact response that got Harden, Westbrook's former teammate, cursed (again).

Needless to say, Lil B caught wind of the comment and wasn't about to let it slide:

Yep, he compared him to a sandwich. If we had to guess, a Based God's curse is in the not-so-distant future if Westbrook doesn't come forth and recognize the rapper's existence.

It appears Lil B was so angered by this blatant disrespect that he is even willing to root for Harden and the Houston Rockets if it means serving the Thunder a loss:

Two curses seems like too much for one team to handle. The way Russell has been playing lately, it would really be a shame for him to become the next victim of the curse/subject of the next Lil B diss track.

We're just going to leave this here as a reminder ... Lil B is always watching.

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Anthony Davis AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman

In case you hadn't noticed, the Anthony Davis era is here.

Sure, the 22-year-old New Orleans Pelicans big man already has made an All-NBA first team and two All-Star rosters. But 2015-16 likely will be the season Davis becomes widely considered one of the best, if not the best, player in the league.

Just ask general managers. The annual NBA survey did, and the results speak for themselves.

Q: If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?

A: Anthony Davis (86.2%), LeBron James (6.9%), Kevin Durant (6.9%)

Before last season, LeBron received 50 percent of the vote, with Davis and Durant sitting at 25 percent apiece. The year before? LeBron got 89.7 percent, Durant 6.9 and James' now-Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving 3.4.

Now, this doesn't mean GMs would pick Davis over everyone to win a game tomorrow; Davis' age (eight years younger than LeBron, five years younger than Durant) makes a big difference. But it says a lot about how people around the league view Davis, and what he might become -- very soon.

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Russell WestbrookRocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

Russell Westbrook has quickly become one of the NBA's most entertaining players, with his often-unstoppable playing style, his knack for fashion and his sense of humor.

So naturally, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard was called upon to do a Reddit "Ask Me Anything," and again showed why it's hard not to love Russ.

Here's the best of his lengthy Q&A:

Hi Russell! I'm a huge fan of the Thunder. My question is, if you could posterize anyone in the world, who would it be?


Who was one NBA player you looked up to as a kid?

Magic Johnson was my favorite player growing up

Bestbrook! You are the man homie! Where did you get your fashion sense from?

My mom

Russell, I grew up in small town Oklahoma and cannot tell you what the Thunder has meant to the state, especially in times of difficulty. What, if anything, have you gotten out of Oklahoma that you never expected?

How nice, supportive and good the people are and the fans are here

Russ, huge fan here. What are you favorite basketball shoes of all time?

Pro models

Hey russell, What music do you listen to to get you pumped for a game?

I listen to all types. T. Swift is on the playlist. I mix it up - old school/new school rap/ R&B/Pop...everything

Russell!!!!! If you could give me one tip on fashion what would it be? I love your sense of fashion

Be yourself

Russell, if you were one type of kitchen utensil what would it be and why?


Have you ever looked back on an outfit that you wore and regretted it?

I have not

Read the rest of his AMA here.

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