LeBron James seemed to answer a lot of critics during Friday’s 119-114 loss to the New Orleans. ESPN reported that The King might be on the decline. Was it a statement?
JAMES’ GAME HASN’T DIMINISHED, SAYS LEBRON HIMSELF
James’ scoring outburst came a day after he sat out the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 103-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with soreness in his left knee. Also Thursday, ESPN.com published a pair of stories examining James’ place in the league as a 12-year veteran.
One quoted an advance scout as saying, “The LeBron who could dunk on any player at any time is probably gone. … He’s probably never been a better basketball player than he is right now, though.” The other noted how James had only six dunks in the Cavs’ half-court offense through his first 20 games.
With that context, a reporter asked James whether his 21-point first quarter against the Pelicans — an 8-for-11 shooting performance that included two impressive dunks — was his attempt to send a message about his continued stature in the sport.
“It’s funny you say that because a family member of mine sent me the same message you just talked about,” James said. “You can look at it in a bad way or a good way. I’ve expanded the rest of my game. I’m still out there making plays. My athleticism, obviously I’m not the 18-year-old kid that I was before. But I can still do the things I need to do to be successful.”
MJ AND KOBE TRASH TALK AT 2003 NBA ALL-STAR
With Kobe Bryant 30 points shy of passing Michael Jordan as the third all-time leading scorer in the NBA, there have been a lot of videos released regarding both legends. Here’s a 24-year-old Kobe Bryant got served in the art of trash talking by 40-year-old Michael Jordan during the 2003 All-Star Game. The mutual respect is apparent in the light-hearted exchange.
KOBE: MJ CAN’T STOP ME
Via LA Daily News:
“I remember Kobe saying, ‘Michael Jordan can’t stop me,’” said David Lasman, one of Bryant’s former teammates at Lower Merion, a suburban high school outside Philadelphia. “‘I’m not saying I can stop him. But he can’t stop me.’”
Lasman would tell the 17-year-old Bryant he’s “crazy” for saying something so brash. After all, Jordan would win six NBA championships, six Finals MVPs and five regular-season MVPS. But Bryant would eventually enter the NBA out of high school, win five NBA championships with the Lakers and spark never-ending comparisons to Jordan.
Bryant could also surpass Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list when the Lakers (6-16) visit San Antonio (15-6) on Friday at AT&T Center. Bryant only needs 31 points to surpass Jordan’s 32,292 career points. Bryant conceded his upcoming milestone will mark “a great accomplishment,” trailing only Karl Malone (36,928) and former Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) on the scoring list. But Bryant argued “the true beauty in it comes in the journey.”
GET THAT SHOE OUTTA HERE
Why Tyson Chandler did it is unclear, but it drew loud cheers from the Dallas Mavericks fans and confusion from the Golden State Warriors players. The Warriors beat the Mavs 105-98 to win their 15th straight.
Speights had lost his shoe a couple of possessions earlier, stepping out of it as he attempted to drive. He played an entire possession with just a sock on his left foot. Golden State guard Stephen Curry tried to help out his teammate, picking up the shoe and passing it to Speights near midcourt as the Warriors brought the ball up the court.
Not in Chandler’s house.
Spotting the shoe in the air, Chandler changed directions and swatted it away with his left hand, drawing roars from the sellout crowd at the American Airlines Center and confused shrugs and points from Speights and Curry.