New team, same Dillon Brooks.
The Houston Rockets forward was asked on Tuesday about matching up with LeBron James in Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. He expects to guard him and vowed to “lock him up.”
“Ready to lock him up,” Brooks told reporters. “He’s been shooting the ball well, he’s been playing well. I’m just there to make him tired, make him get into that fourth quarter early.”
The last time Brooks and James faced off on the court, Brooks called James “old” and said that James hadn’t earned his respect. This was during a first-round playoff series between the Lakers and Brooks’ former Memphis Grizzlies.
“I poke bears,” Brooks told reporters in April. “I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40.”
That was after Game 2 that saw some on-court tension surface between the two. Brooks then proceeded to punch James in the groin in Game 3, rightfully leading to his ejection.
The Lakers went to beat the Grizzlies in six games, and that was the end of that. James and Brooks declined a post-series handshake, and James took a Jay-Z-inspired victory lap on social media.
Unlike you little 🤬I’m a grown ass man
Big shoes to fill 🤬, grown ass pants
Prolly hustled with your pops, go ask your parents
Its apparent you’re staring at a legend
Who, put a few little 🤬in the they place before
Trying to eat without saying they grace before! 🤫👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 29, 2023
Brooks didn’t have anything to say after the Game 6 loss. He left the Grizzlies locker room before media arrived.
Now Brooks is in a new city and feels like chirping, though the talk is certainly subdued by his standards. But he’s showing no signs of backing down from James. And it sounds like he’s tired of hearing James talk.
“I feel like he controls the media,” Brooks continued. “I feel like a lot of guys — you know — have these podcasts and love social media, but I don’t really like it. I don’t really like media.
“If I didn’t have to talk to you guys I wouldn’t talk to you guys. And you know, I just block it out and just play basketball.”
As for how he intends to lock James up, Brooks reiterated that the plan is to wear him down physically.
“Full-courting him when he wants to bring it up,” Brooks said. “Any time he’s posting up on the block, I’m bumping him. Bumping him on the jog back. If he’s guarding me, I want to attack him. Just getting him into multiple actions.”
As for James, he was active on social media Tuesday. But his message was for NBA officials. Brooks didn’t appear to be on his radar.