Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James have a special connection to basketball and sports debates. These three NBA stars have been mentioned as all-time greats in the past three decades. Arguments rage on between fans or analysts young and old as to which of these players ranks where in the discussion. Many believe that MJ is the GOAT, while others have proclaimed LeBron has taken over that title. Now, Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant is saying where he believes he should rank versus Jordan and LeBron.

Kobe has to rank himself, LeBron, MJ

Kobe Bryant is clearly retired from basketball, but due to his recent media tour to promote his new fiction book, the former NBA superstar is being asked the burning questions. While appearing on ESPN with Mike Greenberg, Kobe offered advice for LeBron and Magic Johnson with regard to their Lakers' situation. When asked about how he feels about where he ranks in terms of "all-time greatest" during that interview, Kobe humbly declined to answer. However, an appearance on late night TV forced him to answer.

Kobe was part of "The Late Late Show with James Corden." During his time on there, Corden had Kobe participate in a game. The game involved eating a portion of rather disgusting food.

In this case, it was cow tongue. The alternative was to answer Corden's question and get out of ingesting that nastiness. The Lakers star was forced to opt out of eating, as Corden asked Kobe to rank himself, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan.

So how did Kobe rank these three all-time superstars from best to worst?

Kobe was ready to take a bite of the cow tongue until Corden told him he thinks there's an easy answer. Kobe dropped the tongue and declared himself the best, followed by Jordan and LeBron. Challenge solved, at least for Kobe Bryant.

LeBron still achieving milestones

While Michael Jordan is trying to help the Charlotte Hornets become a better team as an owner, LeBron James is a current member of the Lakers' roster.

The NBA star reacted to missing the playoffs for the first time in his year with the Lakers but seemed optimistic for the summer. He even gave a message to free agents about joining the Lakers.

That's because the Lakers' front office will look toward free agency and potential NBA trades to improve their roster. There's also the NBA draft, but it's unlikely this team will do much with that unless they get the top pick. Even then, it's not a given that the Lakers will keep the pick or Zion Williamson if they are able to draft him.

Either way, LeBron James will get a summer to focus on his various pursuits, and, of course, prepare for a better 2019-20 NBA season.

He'll also continue his climb among the all-time scoring leaders, and, of course, try to add at least a few more rings to the three he has already. When it's all said and done, will LeBron get a better ranking than Kobe? Most likely, but not from Bryant himself, quite yet.