Two years ago, who knows how LeBron James would have answered the question.

But we know his answer today.

Already weary and leery of the Michael vs. Kobe vs. LeBron debate, James knew the question was coming – not only because of Michael Jordan's 50th birthday but also because Jordan opened his mouth and said he would take Bryant over James because Bryant has five titles and James has just one – entirely missing that James is six years younger and until recently never had as much talent around him as Bryant did for his five titles.

Bryant, for his part, hasn't gotten into the debate directly, but did agree with one aspect of Jordan's comments.

"I think the message is winning is above everything else," he said. "That's what drives (Jordan). Same thing that drives him now, win as many as you can. And it's really that simple."

James does want to win. It's the reason he left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and led the formation of the Miami Heat super team three seasons ago. He finally got his elusive title last season and his team is the top seed in the Eastern Conference and appears to be primed for another run.

Still, James knows that there are some of the game's best players who don't have several championships or any, so he's not buying into Jordan's argument completely.

"At the end of the day, rings don't always define someone's career," he said. "Patrick Ewing is one of the greatest of all-time. Reggie Miller is one of the greatest of all-time. Sometimes, it's the situation you're in, the team that you're on and it's about timing as well."

Asked if Jordan's comments provided bulletin-board material, James replied, "What do I need bulletin-board material for? My inspiration is the game that I love."

What drives James?

"I want to be the best of all-time," he said.