Brooks has been known similarly to players like Patrick Beverley and Draymond Green as an irritant. He is popular just as much for his antics as his on-court play and leans into the heel shtick like a professional wrestler.
James has gotten the better of Brooks in basically all of these confrontations. Most memorably, the James drive on Brooks to seal Game 4 in the second round last year gave the Lakers a commanding 3-1 lead and all but ended the series.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis do the "TOO SMALL" taunt after the shot on Dillon Brooks pic.twitter.com/ezyA4uLCi8— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) November 20, 2023
On Sunday, James and Brooks once again found themselves on center stage.
James continued to attack Brooks and scored basket after basket, including a runner in the third which caused James to turn to his bench and do the “too small gesture.” I’ve seen the gesture done countless times, but usually, you bend down a little to demonstrate the size disparity. James was as petty as ever, putting his hand as close to the floor as possible.
James hit a free throw with 1.4 seconds left and after a desperation three by Brooks, which James contested missed, the Lakers officially sealed the win and James, the best of the battle.
Postgame, James appeared in good spirits and spoke fondly of the villain.
“He’s a great competitor,” James said. “I like going against him. He was hooping tonight, too, for sure. He was shooting the ball exceptionally well. Kept them in the game. I think they were seven down at one point and he hit two big-time threes to keep them in the game in the fourth. It’s competition. Those young guys, they get me going. I need that.”
Given the thousands of games he’s played over a 21-year career, James has a point. He might need a little extra kick to inspire him to take things up a notch for a typical November game.
The NBA In-Season Tournament has certainly seemed to give James and the Lakers extra motivation and success, so it’s no surprise a little banter would be just the extra motivation James needs to remind us he is still the King.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.