Memphis – LeBron James is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, four-time MVP, four-time champion, and 19-time All-Star.
For the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks, LeBron is “old.”
“I scratch the Bears – I don’t respect anybody until they come over and give me 40 (points),” Brooks said.
The context for this is that James and Brooks started at each other with 8:06 remaining in the third quarter of the Grizzlies’ 103-93 victory over the Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Playoff series. One point, but James started to give them back, and when Brooks was whistled for his fourth foul, according to Brooks, LeBron told him, “You’re stupid for making that foul.”
And then when asked about the exchange after the game, Brooks said things about James that no one in the NBA has said in his illustrious career, certainly not in one sitting.
“I don’t care – he’s old,” said Brooks. “I was expecting him to (talk trash), Game 4, Game 5.”
In no particular order during the eight-minute post-match interview, during which Brooks donned dark sunglasses, jeans, and a shirtless jacket, the fearless defender and well-known rookie said the following about James:
“He wasn’t at the same level as when he was in Cleveland winning championships in Miami. I wish I could have seen that. I mean, it would have been a harder and harder job (to guard him).”
“He’s a special player. … These special players, they want to play in space, they want to not be touched … But when you get to the playoffs, bumps and things like that are allowed, it wears on him.”
“Just wear him through a series of seven matches and see if he can take it — see if he wants to put up a one-on-one fight, or if he wants to be on the sidelines.”
James, who is 38 and plays on an injured foot he said had been recommended for surgery, was not asked about Brooks during his post-match interview.
James scored 28 points on 12-of-23 shooting, but was 1-of-8 from 3-point range. Scored 21 on 8-of-16 shooting in the Lakers’ Game 1 victory.
Brooks was the Grizzlies’ primary advocate over James, and sought to mold a 6-8, 260-pound scoring machine. “Things are going well,” Brooks said. “I try, without contamination, with little bumps here and there, to make him tired.”
As for the breakup between them, Brooks said his response to James was, “You finally want to talk.”
“And then we started to get into conversation,” Brooks continued. “I just told him you can’t take me in private. You don’t have to. You go look at the movie. He doesn’t really take me one-on-one up until that point. Then when he gave up outside he was tired. So I did my job.”
Brooks was given a chance to clarify one of his statements—that he had no “respect” for James—and said “Obviously I have some respect. He’s a legend. He’s LeBron James. But you know, when I’m on that floor, you’re just another player to me. I don’t care who You. You’re only 6-8, 270 lbs. And you’re a basketball player.”
Brooks also admitted, “I’m making a name for myself. So you know, I can’t look at these guys like ‘It’s LeBron James.'”
Brooks was rated 18 technicians during the regular season, which meant two one-game suspensions, and was involved in a fight with Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell. He said he’s been booed this season during Grizzlies games in Los Angeles, so he doesn’t care what reaction his comments will definitely cause.
He might want to give it some thought when it comes to how LeBron will react. Yes, he’s getting old, but James is known for turning even small things into historical vendettas. After Game 4 of the 2016 Finals, when Klay Thompson told LeBron that the NBA is a “men’s league,” James responded with back-to-back 41-point games and a triple-double in Game 7 to complete the only comeback from a 3-1 deficit in Finals history.
“I got it today,” Brooks said. “I got him talking to me. So we’ll see in Game 3 if he keeps talking and I’m there for it.”
(Photo: Peter Thomas/USA Today)
“Coffee ninja. Web fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast. Professional creator.”