Ric Flair says he wants to strangle ESPN analyst for his criticism of LeBron James

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James’ strong start to the 2023-24 NBA season at the age of 38 has captured the attention of the sports world, and pro wrestling icon Ric Flair is ready to take on anyone who is doubting the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

After Alan Hahn recently called James an old man, Flair, himself 74 years old, told Shannon Sharpe he was ready to inflict some harm on the ESPN analyst.

James in his 21st NBA season continues to maintain an exceptionally high level of play while also taking some delight in proving his doubters wrong.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, James is averaging 25.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game in his 15 appearances this season, keeping his place among the top players in the league. He has helped the Lakers fashion a 9-7 record, including a 4-0 mark in the new NBA In-Season Tournament.

One former NBA player said James is looking to win the first NBA Cup so he can add it to his credentials for consideration as the greatest player of all time when compared to Michael Jordan. It is rare to accomplish something no other team has ever done before, but this new competition does provide James and the Lakers such an opportunity.

Flair, who has ties to Jordan’s home state of North Carolina, also said in the conversation with Sharpe that he considers James the best player of all time.

In addition, former Lakers player Derek Fisher — a five-time NBA champion with Los Angeles – has said that James’ greatness is having a positive effect on younger teammate Rui Hachimura.

The superstar is surprisingly averaging almost 34 minutes per game, based on the Lakers’ stated intention to more carefully monitor his workload this season. That reportedly will eventually come to pass once the Lakers have the benefit of a more healthy roster.

James has played more than 56 regular games just once in his five previous seasons with the Lakers, so his pace is likely to slow somewhat at some point. But even if critics seize on that, supporters like Flair will be quick to back the NBA icon.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.