LeBron James is playing some incredible basketball this season, especially considering he is 37 years old in season 19. But it is obvious father time has caught up and that James simply isn't the athletic phenom he used to be. That has encouraged a lot of young players in the league to have less fear of LeBron and even talk trash to him. The best example is Desmond Bane, who provoked LeBron so hard he went on a whole rant in the middle of the game. We recently learned what Bane said to make "The King" so mad.
The disappointing veterans vs. the young overachievers
When you look at the Lakers and Grizzlies this season, you can say they are polar opposites. On the one hand, the star-studded and experienced Lakers were expected to be contenders and dominate the West, but their season has been filled with disappointment and inconsistency, sitting at 9th in the West with a 25-28 record.
On the other hand, the Memphis Grizzlies have been the most pleasant surprise of the season. Nobody expected this young core to be this good so soon, but Ja Morant and a cast of great supporting players have been balling with style, as they are firmly 3rd in the West with a 36-18 record.
Young and fearless
The Grizzlies have won fans over the league not only with their outstanding play but with their style. Ja Morant has exploded into the MVP conversation with his unreal athleticism, but he isn't doing it alone. Guys like Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, Dillion Brooks, Steven Adams, and the bench have all stepped up and made Memphis such a challenging team to beat.
They do it together and make sure you hear about it, trash-talking on a nightly basis, no matter who's on the other side of the court. The best example is a game back on January 9th, when the Grizzlies came into Los Angeles to play the Lakers. Memphis stormed the Crypto.com Arena and won 127-119, led by 23 points from Desmond Bane.
After the game, the main talk would be the clip of LeBron losing his cool in the middle of the game. The Grizzlies were the better team and letting the Lakers know about it, as James decided to remind them who they were talking to, saying this is the last time they did that.
LeBron got fired up, dunked on Jackson Jr., and scored 35 points, with 9 rebounds and 7 assists, but it wasn't enough to get the win. James was talking to the second-year player Bane, who was chirping at LeBron through the game, and it almost backfired. Recently we finally found out what Bane said to LeBron to fire him up.
After scoring a three in transition, with LeBron struggling to get back on defense, Bane turned to James and said:
"Them footsteps ain't scaring nobody."
We all know what kind of fear LeBron's footsteps in the back have been bringing to players for the past 19 years, with his trademark chase-down block, but he is not that guy anymore, and Bane decided to let him know. LeBron being the proud winner he is wasn't thrilled with those words as he went on an epic rant. It would propel his game to another level, but it wasn't enough to beat such a resilient and talented Grizzlies team.
Ja Morant being the leader of the team is encouraging his guys to be confident and do their thing no matter who they're up against. Only that way can they actually become serious contenders and respected by everyone in the league. One thing is for sure. Their collection of talent, flair, and toughness is fun to watch and reminiscent of the Grit & Grind Grizzlies with a lot more athleticism. This team could be a force for years to come.