Lakers star LeBron James has set a remarkably high bar for what constitutes a highlight play in his incredible career, but his dunk on Monday is going to be on just about every highlight reel for now until the end of days. After an offensive rebound by Austin Reaves, a cutting LeBron received a bounce pass down the middle of the lane, looked straight into former teammate Kevin Love’s soul, and destroyed it all in a split second.
Even by LeBron’s standards, it was a remarkable play. And that it occurred against, over, on top of and through his good friend was not lost on LeBron. Nor was it lost on Love, who tried to get some revenge after halftime by tackling James.
After leading the Lakers to their second road win in three games after having lost 11 straight games away from home prior to Friday, LeBron delivered all sorts of daggers in his postgame interviews.
First, on Spectrum SportsNet, he spoke with Allie Clifton, who asked him where that poster dunk ranks in his career. All James could do was offer was remorse that I’m sure was good-natured but came off as even more savage in the moment.
”At the very last spot, because it’s K Love. Listen, when I turned that corner and I looked up I was like ‘no, please Kev, just move,’” James said. “I hate it. Because he should know that once I get that go-go gadget calf muscle and get going then I’m going to take off. So I hate it had to be him. So I’m gonna take that one out of my posters, I didn’t like that one because that is my guy.”
We’re unsure about Kevin Love’s awareness of LeBron’s go-go gadget calf muscles, but we do know that Love should have been aware of what was in store for him if he tried to take that charge. It’s also an incredible flex from LeBron that he can just not count one of the greatest dunks of his time as a Laker in his rankings because he knows how many great ones he’s had.
In the postgame presser after that, James was further asked about the dunk and just threw more pity on Love before delivering the most savage line of the night.
“To be completely honest, I hate that it had to be him,” James said. ‘That’s my guy. That’s my brother and I hope I’m still invited to the wedding. That’s not even in my all-time dunks, I’ll take it out. I didn’t mean it. K Love, I love you and I take it back. I wish I could take those two points back and we’d still win the game by 9.”
What better way to flex is there than to say “You know what, just keep those two points because we still by so many,” which is basically what LeBron is saying here.
Love and LeBron were always going to be linked in some capacity for their title together in Cleveland. That link will have even more meaning now, as that dunk gets replayed over and over and over in his career highlights. Because despite LeBron’s joking protests, this dunk is definitely going to fit in to his eventual best dunks montage, and if Love didn’t want to be in there, he definitely should have made sure he fit out of the frame.