D'Angelo Russell calls T-Mac maybe 'the GOAT,' hears from Kobe

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Eric Freeman
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Adjusting to life in the NBA can be a task for any rookie. Apart from getting ready for the highest level of basketball in the world, these young athletes must realize that they are no longer just fans — they're also professionals who must respect their new colleagues. An opinion is not just an opinion, because it could also offend someone very close by.

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New Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in June's draft, just found this out the hard way. The 19-year-old ex-Ohio State star sent out a fairly innocuous, if not especially factual, tweet about Tracy McGrady on Thursday:

The problem for Russell is that he plays on the same team as Kobe Bryant, a superior player to McGrady and one of the more historically aware stars in recent memory. Not surprisingly, Kobe had some thoughts on that comment:

Russell immediately realized his mistake without rescinding his praise:

And then Kobe made it clear that everything was cool:

Russell's comment was obviously totally harmless. There's no very good argument for McGrady as the best player ever, but he was in fact nice and totally worth remembering on a random offseason Thursday. Nevertheless, a Laker cannot state this without indirectly insulting Kobe by omission. A member of this franchise must genuflect to its history at all times.

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On a related note, here's video of the time Kobe and T-Mac combined for 75 points in 2007. Let's turn this goofy exchange into an occasion for celebration, not animosity:

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!