Jabari Smith Jr. and his dad say Monday was among best days of their lives after making unforgettable memory with LeBron James

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Houston Rockets rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. shared that Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers was one of the best days of his life after he and his dad made a special memory with LeBron James.

James, who played against Smith’s father earlier in his career, allowed the family to have a bit of a full circle moment by playing against the Rockets rookie on Monday.

It’s a really cool story, and it shows just how impactful James is for so many young basketball players, even ones that are in the NBA.

The four-time champion has put together an amazing career, and his longevity has allowed him to impact multiple generations of players.

On Monday night, James gave Smith and the Rockets more than they could handle, leading the Lakers to a 140-132 victory. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Los Angeles, moving the team to just 1.5 games behind the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference.

James dominated against Houston, scoring 48 points on 16-of-26 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. He also added eight rebounds and nine assists in the win.

The Lakers would be in serious trouble this season if it weren’t for James, as he’s put the team on his back the past few weeks with Anthony Davis out of the lineup due to a foot injury.

James certainly gave Smith and his father a show, and the rookie had a solid game himself in a losing effort.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Smith scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting on Monday, adding four rebounds and four assists. The Rockets have really struggled this season and are in the midst of an 11-game losing streak, but Smith looks like a piece they will be able to build around for years to come.

With James playing at such a high level this late in his career, it wouldn’t be surprising to see several more matchups between the 18-time All-Star and Smith.

James is under contract with the Lakers through at least the 2023-24 season, and it certainly looks like he could play beyond that, as long as he stays healthy.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.