Unfortunately for Brooks and the Grizzlies, the Lakers and James ended up beating them in the series. Despite that, Brooks stands by his word.
“No, I still feel the same way,” Brooks told Fox Sports on Friday.
James – despite being 38 years old – is having a great 2023-24 season for the Lakers. In 12 games, the four-time NBA champion is averaging 25.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 57.2 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from beyond the arc.
It’s amazing that James is still able to play at such a high level in his 21st season, but Brooks doesn’t seem to want to give the Lakers star that much credit. He explained why he still feels that way about James this season.
“Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel,” Brooks said of the need to feel like he can bottle up his opponents. “I wouldn’t be in this position if I wasn’t like that. People wouldn’t want me on their team if I wasn’t like that. It’s better for me. It gets me going every single day to play the best of the best.”
Brooks also shared that he doesn’t talk to James as friends outside of basketball.
“No, I don’t talk to him,” Brooks said of James. “I don’t talk to anybody, except for my people.”
The Rockets and Lakers have already played once this season, with Houston blowing out the Lakers in that game. Anthony Davis missed that game with an injury, and the team lost badly, 128-94.
James played just 27:12 in that loss, but he was still effective, shooting 7-for-13 from the field and finishing with 18 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Brooks scored just five points in the game, but he did his job as his team ran away with a massive victory.
The Lakers and Rockets will match up again on Sunday night, giving Brooks yet another chance to go after James. While the Lakers superstar got the last laugh in the playoffs last season, Brooks has the upper hand this season.
The Lakers and Rockets are scheduled to tip off at 6:30 p.m. PST on Sunday night from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.