LeBron James had a message for those who say he is too friendly with his opponents.
James had a triple-double (34 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists) in his Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night. He prevailed over Zion Williamson, who had 35 points for the Pelicans. The two were trading buckets and seemed to inspire one another.
LeBron drills the 3 right in Zion's face pic.twitter.com/BkG8FsdHC6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 2, 2020
The two players held a long embrace on the court after the game, which led to a line of questioning about their friendship.
LeBron and Zion postgame.
Much respect pic.twitter.com/dgR55K82bD
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 2, 2020
“Anybody that says that ‘LeBron, why would he do that while he’s playing? It’s a sign of weakness — he’s buddy-buddy with the guys thath he’s going against.’ Tell them to kiss my a–. With a smile, too!” James said after the game.
On his words to Zion, LeBron says he thinks it’s his responsibility to mentor: “Anybody that says, ‘LeBron, why would he do that while he’s playing? He’s showing signs of weakness, he’s buddy-buddy with these guys he’s going against.’ Tell em to kiss my ass. With a smile, too.” pic.twitter.com/pKSSiU5OrN
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) March 2, 2020
James declined to tell the media what he said to Zion after the game. But his performance on the court does seem to send a message that he can take it to an opponent during a game while still being friendly with them afterward.
James has now faced the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft in consecutive games and has helped bring out some great performances from both of them.
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