LeBron James broke the all-time scoring record nearly halfway through this season, and is considered by both fellow players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and former legends like Shaquille O’Neal to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest NBA player in history — so why have the Memphis Grizzlies, particularly small forward/shooting guard Dillon Brooks (who called James “old” and that he “[doesn’t] respect no one until they come and give me 40”) been trash talking and disrespecting James in their first round series against the Lakers?
Ex-NBA player and analyst Jim Jackson believes he knows why, and as is often the case with “King” James, it draws analogies to Michael Jordan.
“It’s a lot easier to talk to 38-year-old LeBron who’s not the same kind of player,” Jackson said on the Dan Patrick Show. “It’s like talking junk to Mike when he was with the Wizards. Now he can still go off and give you 40, 50. But it’s not the same as it was a young Mike in Chicago. When he just had the energy to go out and beat you not just offensively, but more importantly defensively — get up on you and change the game as well. So it’s a lot easier to talk smack to a 38-year-old LeBron than he was with Cleveland the first time when he had like 25 in the fourth quarter [against the Pistons], or what he did with Boston when he was in Miami. That’s a whole different animal.”
Though it’s an apt analogy and explanation of the Grizzlies trash talking LeBron, one big difference is that when Michael Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards in 2001, the Wizards were in a rebuilding period and not in playoff contention, even with “The Jumpman” on their side (though Jordan did bring the Wizards from basement-dwelling 19 win seasons to nearly 40 wins in his tenure). LeBron and the Lakers do have a chance to win a championship this season and that’s why the Grizzlies trash talking LeBron is even more nonsensical than bashing a past-his prime Jordan who was playing for the Wizards for more self-indulgent and instructive reasons.
What do you think of Dillon Brooks and the Grizzlies trash talking LeBron James? Is the trash talk warranted or are they simply trying to get in James and the Lakers’ heads? Let us know in the comments.