LeBron James and the Lakers are preparing for a pivotal Game 3 in the first-round playoff series against the Grizzlies. But, the four-time NBA champion appears to want to let his game do the talking when he takes the court on Saturday.
One thing James seems to have zero interest in is the recent trash talk from Dillon Brooks.
“I’m not here for the bulls—,” James said after practice Friday when asked about Brooks’ recent comments. “I’m ready to play and that’s it.” James then abruptly ended his media session.
During the earlier parts of the Lakers superstar’s media availability, he seemed to sidestep any Brooks-related questions.
The series is tied 1-1 after the Grizzlies defeated the Lakers in Game 2 earlier this week. After Memphis’ 103-93 win, Brooks decided to speak out about his thoughts on playing against James.
“I don’t care — he’s old. You know what I mean?” Brooks said Wednesday. “I was waiting for that. I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5. He wanted to say something when I got my fourth foul. He should have been saying that earlier on. But I poke bears. I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40.”
James said he was not aware of Brooks’ comments until a reporter mentioned it. The 38-year-old James was also asked if trash talk from an opponent had previously impacted the outcome of any playoff series he had been involved in.
“The game is won in between the four lines,” James said. “Always has, always will be.”
Historically, James holds the head-to-head advantage over Brooks as it relates to wins. James’ teams are 10-3 against Brooks for his career. James is averaging 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds, through the first two playoff games.
Rui Hachimura, who the Lakers acquired in January via a trade, was not found of Brooks’ remarks.
“I heard about it,” Hachimura said Friday. “I’m not really into social media, but I heard about it. Honestly, that’s all they can do. They’re a young team. They just want to talk. We just don’t really care. We’re going to play our game and we’re trying to win the games.”
After failing to receive any votes for the best player in the NBA in an ESPN poll of unarmed scouts and executives, James began to jokingly refer to himself as the “Washed King” in social media posts.
James did not to mention Brooks by name when he spoke with reporters.
“I mean at the end of the day, there’s 10 guys on the floor,” James said. “There’s 10 guys on the floor. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the league and we have to respect that.
“No matter who is out in a Grizzlies uniform during that particular time, during that quarter, during that minute, we’ve got to respect everybody and we got to execute offensively.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham expressed confidence that James would be able to block out the noise as the series shifts to Los Angeles.
“LeBron needs to come out and do what he’s always done,” Ham said. “Just play the right way. Everything else will take care of itself.”