In the New York Times’ interactive quiz on how to survive an encounter with a bear, an expert says that if you spot a bear, the best thing to do is “make noise so the bear knows you’re there and you don’t surprise it, but don’t disturb the animal and don’t linger. Calmly and slowly leave the area.” Dillon Brooks, perhaps because he thinks he is also a bear by virtue of being drafted by the Grizzlies, or maybe because Lakers star LeBron James is not an actual bear, has taken the opposite approach, using the oft-repeated tact of screaming as loud as he can while trying to make himself appear large enough to scare off the encroaching threat.
I personally have no idea if poking a bear while calling it old and challenging it to score 40 on you would actually scare it off — I wouldn’t recommend testing this — but according to former LeBron teammate and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, Brooks’ strategy is actually more akin to marinating himself in a delicious honey glaze rather than anything that is going to phase LeBron:
At practice on Friday, however, James declined the opportunity for a meal, contentedly giving off the vibe of an ursidae that had recently eaten rather than one interested in a sentient, sunglasses-and-vest-adorned trash can that is practically begging to be rummaged through:
LeBron James on if he has a response to Dillon Brooks’ comments: “No.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) April 21, 2023
James was asked if trash-talk has ever affected a series he’s been involved in: “The game is won in between the four lines. Always has. Always will be.”
LeBron James on if he thinks you have to be a certain caliber player to engage in trash talk: pic.twitter.com/Kkt4VkiWeV— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) April 21, 2023
LeBron at the end of his media availability: “I’m not here for the bullshit. I’m ready to play.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) April 21, 2023
After generally side stepping questions about Dillon Brooks’ comments, LeBron James cut off his media availability with a simple message. pic.twitter.com/yVcWNWf5g4— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 21, 2023
That was about what you’d expect from James, who has to know that all this is likely just a tact to irritate him and get him to go at Brooks rather than continuing the Lakers’ game plan of feeding the ball inside to Anthony Davis. Maybe a cub version of the King would have taken the bait here, but this more grizzled one seems satisfied to hibernate — like a bear during winter, or a defender when Dillon Brooks is about to shoot a three — until Game 3 on Saturday.
At that point, we’ll see if he’s up for the hunt, or if he still simply doesn’t view this particular prey as worth the chase.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.