Pacers lottery pick challenges LeBron James: ‘A lot of people say he’s great…he’s going to have to show me he’s better than me’ - Lakers Daily

Pacers lottery pick challenges LeBron James: ‘A lot of people say he’s great…he’s going to have to show me he’s better than me’

Bennedict Mathurin and LeBron James

Bennedict Mathurin was drafted by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night. He has already issued a surprising challenge to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

Just prior to the draft, Mathurin expressed strong confidence in his own abilities on the court and made a strong claim in the process.

“A lot of people say he’s great,” Mathurin said of James. “I want to see how great he is. I don’t think anybody is better than me. He’s going to have to show me he’s better than me.”

As the No. 6 overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, the 20-year-old Mathurin certainly possesses plenty of talent as a 6-foot-6 player. He spent two years at the University of Arizona and finished the 2021-22 campaign with averages of 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

James is 37 years old and will be starting his 20th NBA season this fall. He long ago clinched his future selection to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is brought up during any discussions about the greatest basketball player ever.

Mathurin’s bold challenge is likely forged from the bumpy path he’s taken to get to the NBA. Among the roadblocks he’s faced was the death of his brother years ago.

Over James’ lengthy career, he’s had plenty of fellow players offer their own challenges toward him. He’s also been the recipient of a great deal of criticism for a number of reasons.

That experience makes it likely that James is amused by Mathurin’s comments. Given his razor-sharp memory, James is also likely to recall this moment during the 2022-23 season.

Right now, the schedule for next season hasn’t been released, but Mathurin’s challenge has quickly made the first Lakers-Pacers game one to circle.