Did LeBron just cook Michael Malone on Instagram pic.twitter.com/Iv0CD5x2y2
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 16, 2023
Malone has been very public in his criticism of the media talking about the Lakers, and he made sure to mention Los Angeles after winning the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
In fact, Malone seemed to take a shot at James himself by claiming that he’s considering retirement in an interview following the NBA Finals victory.
"I'm thinking about retiring" 😂😂😂
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) June 14, 2023
James hinted at a possible retirement after the Lakers were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals in the 2022-23 season.
Malone wasn’t the only member of the Nuggets organization to take a shot at the Lakers, as the team became a punching bag during Denver’s championship parade on Thursday.
"He came into this world as the son of a coach, but in these playoffs, he became the Lakers daddy!"
Vic Lombardi on Mike Malone 😅 pic.twitter.com/5MWfVRziFw
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 15, 2023
For Lakers fans, it’s a good sign that James seems to be motivated by the comments made by the Nuggets head coach and other members of the franchise.
James is under contract with the Lakers for the 2023-24 season, and he has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign. If he decides to keep playing, there’s no doubt that the NBA’s all-time leading scorer will have beating the Nuggets in mind next season.
While the Lakers ultimately came up short in the 2022-23 season, they showed extreme resiliency after a poor start to the season. Los Angeles began the campaign with a 2-10 record, but it ended up earning the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
James nearly willed Los Angeles to a win in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals – scoring 40 points while adding 10 rebounds and nine assists – but the Lakers ultimately fell short.
A four-time champion, James clearly wasn’t a fan of the disrespect shot towards him by a Denver team that has just one title in franchise history.
The Lakers beat the Nuggets on their way to winning the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season, and it would be poetic for James and company to duplicate that next season as the ultimate revenge against Denver.