LeBron James: Kobe Bryant 'knows he don't suck'

While Kobe Bryant was angry enough about his performance so far this season to take Monday off, LeBron James isn't taking the Lakers star's struggles too seriously.

James laughed when asked about Bryant's poor performance and harsh self-criticism and told the Akron Beacon Journal, "He knows he don't suck."

"What I see is a challenge to himself," James told the newspaper. "It has zero to do with his age. Zero. I think at one point in my career, in my 20s, I felt like I sucked. It's all a personal challenge."

Bryant, 37, called himself "the 200th-best player in the league right now" on Sunday after struggling in a third straight start to open the regular season, his 20th with the Lakers.

"I freaking suck," Bryant said after the Lakers lost to the Dallas Mavericks.

Through the Lakers' 0-3 start, Bryant averaged 17.3 points per game but shot 31.3 percent from the floor, including 20.7 percent from 3-point range. In Los Angeles' 120-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, he scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting (36.4 percent), including 1-for-5 (20 percent) from 3-point range.

Bryant recorded more fouls (five) than field goals, air-balled two 3-pointers and had another shot that failed to draw iron.

"[Been] sitting for 30 minutes, man," he said when asked about those shots. "Coming into the game a little tight."

Where do the Lakers go from here?

"We just keep working," coach Byron Scott said. "That's all we can do."

Scott added: "He'll figure it out. Kobe is the last person that I worry about."

James isn't worried about Bryant, either.

"I know him. He knows he don't suck," James said. "C'mon, man, it's Kobe Bryant. But it's a personal challenge to him. That's all that is."

ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.