Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has been dealing with haters for most of his career.
But on Sunday, after his Lakers trounced the New Orleans Pelicans 122-114, James playfully responded to his detractors who questioned his practice of befriending the league’s up-and-coming stars.
“Tell them they can kiss my ass … with a smile, too.”
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) March 2, 2020
“Anybody that says that ‘LeBron why would he do that while he’s playing?’” James said after the game. “’Is he showing a sign of weakness? He’s buddy-buddy with guys that he’s going against.’ Tell them they can kiss my a–, alright? With a smile too.”
James spoke with rookie phenom Zion Williamson at the conclusion of the game, perhaps to encourage the young Pelicans forward.
Many believe Williamson to be the league’s next big star in the mold of James, who was also one of the most celebrated rookies ever when he entered the league in 2003 straight from high school.
As he has done frequently over the past couple of seasons, the Lakers’ 16-time All-Star has been approaching some of the NBA’s most talented young players after games to share “words of wisdom” to the next generation.
Despite acting like a big brother to these players, James has shown that he has not grown soft on them when they face each other on the court. In fact, he appears to be giving his best whenever he goes up against them.
James had 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists versus Williamson, who had a career-high 35 points last night.
Against the Boston Celtics last week in a matchup with first-time All-Star Jayson Tatum, James had 29 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in a Lakers win.
A week earlier, James dropped 32 points, three rebounds and seven assists to lead his team to a victory versus the Memphis Grizzlies and Rookie of the Year candidate Ja Morant.