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Ron Artest ranks Kobe Bryant first and Kevin Durant second in the league; declines to say where LeBron James ranks

October 14, 2010 |  8:40 pm

One of the many reasons to love Ron Artest is that you know every interview will be quotable, funny and/or memorable. You just never know where it's going to go sometimes.

Artest touched on many topics, such as the team's current play, coming off a championship season, his charitable efforts, the Miami Heat and Kevin Durant.

In fact, Artest made a point, unprompted as well, to declare Durant the second-best player in the NBA (behind Kobe Bryant, of course). Moments later in the interview, I made sure to bring that topic up again and ask Artest the thought process behind his rankings.

"I think Kobe's got five rings, six-game winners [last season], 23 straight points in the playoffs, mostly jump shots, couple attacks, big-shot maker," Artest said. "So that said, Durant's second-best player in the NBA."

When a reporter asked, "Where does LeBron fall?" Artest ignored the question and said, "I luckily had the chance to guard the second-best player in the NBA."

So why does Durant rank second in the NBA? " Kobe has five rings," Artest answered.

"I don't mean compared to Kobe," I clarified. "I mean compared to everyone else." Artest's response: "Kevin Durant is the second-best player in the NBA."

"Where is LeBron James on your list?" another reporter asked. "You got to ask him," said Artest.

Follow-up question: What about on your list? "I only count to two," Artest replied. "I've been out of school for 10 years. I only count to two."

--Mark Medina

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