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Self-professed stopper Dillon Brooks piped up to wittingly put down all-time great LeBron James, framing the Lakers’ leader as past his prime as the Memphis Grizzlies evened the NBA first round Western Conference playoff series at 1-all on Wednesday night, April 19.
“I don’t care,” Brooks said postgame when asked about trash-talking James. “He’s old.”
Brooks’ established history of flammable theatrics includes the hard flagrant 2 foul at the rim in the 2022 playoffs that put Warriors guard Gary Payton on the shelf with a shoulder injury.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr called the play “dirty.”
Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell also implored the NBA to “do something about” Brooks’ antics after a groin shot in February that led to a flagrant 2 on the Memphis guard. Both players were ejected when Mitchell responded by whipping the basketball at the agitator.
Brooks mixed it up with James in testy exchanges on the court multiple times Wednesday. James had 28 points and 10 rebounds in the Game 2 loss at Memphis.
“I was waiting for that, I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5, but he wanted to say something when I got my fourth foul,” Brooks said.
“Should’ve been saying that earlier on. You know, I poke bears,” said Brooks.
“I don’t respect someone until they come and give me 40. I pride myself on what I do on defense and taking on any challenge that’s on the board. If it’s LeBron, if it’s AD (Anthony Davis), if it’s whoever. I play my heart out – he knows that. The rest of the NBA knows that. I know my guys know that.”
Other All-Stars on Brooks’ unfriended list include Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Warriors guard Steph Curry.
Brooks said Wednesday he knows James is a legend for a reason, but won’t be backing off – or backing down – in this series.
“He’s a legend. He’s LeBron James. But when I’m on that floor, you’re just another player to me,” Brooks said. “I don’t care who you are. You’re just 6-8, 270 pounds and you’re a basketball player.”
Game 3 is Saturday, April 22 in Los Angeles (Sunday, April 23, Manila time). – Rappler.com