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LeBron James on Kobe Bryant’s self-criticism: ‘He knows he don’t suck’

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LeBron James downplayed Kobe Bryant’s brutal self-assessment of his play by indicating the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is well-aware of where he stands as a basketball player.

“I know him. He knows he don’t suck,” James told the Akron Beacon Journal. “C’mon, man, it’s Kobe Bryant. But it’s a personal challenge to him. That’s all that is.”

Bryant chastised himself earlier this week for how he’s been playing so far this season by saying, “I freaking suck.” He also suggested he’s the “the 200th-best player in the league right now.” Bryant previously scoffed at an ESPN NBA player ranking project in which he was tabbed as the 93rd best player, calling it “silly stuff.” It’s apparent the first few games of the season has made him think differently.

Following the Lakers’ 120-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets in which he airballed two three-pointers, Bryant is now shooting 32.3 percent from the field and 20.6 percent from three-point land while averaging 15.8 points per game.

Lakers head coach Byron Scott, who gave a “really angry” Bryant Monday’s practice off, said he’s not worried about his star player.

“He’ll figure it out,” he said. “Kobe is the last person that I worry about.”

It definitely appears James feels the same way about his fellow NBA superstar, even suggesting the harsh self-criticism was merely a motivational tactic and that the 37-year-old star can still play at a high level.

“What I see is a challenge to himself,” he said. “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.”