When a player like Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has played for 20 years in the NBA, they will have experienced just about everything there is on an NBA court.
But even LeBron was taken aback when Houston Rockets rookie Jabari Smith Jr., the third overall pick in this year’s draft, told him that he played against his father in his first career NBA game against the Sacramento Kings.
Smith revealed this fact prior to the game and even asked if it made James feel old, via the NBA’s official Twitter page:
"You played against my dad your first NBA game ever." 🤯
LeBron and Jabari Smith Jr. pregame tonight pic.twitter.com/4YXlGunZi5
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2023
Furthermore, Jabari Smith Sr. was actually in the building for the Lakers’ victory over the Rockets with LeBron connecting with him after the game and Smith Jr. calling it one of the best days of his life on his Twitter page:
Will never forget the smile on my dads face💯one of the best days of my life. https://t.co/Z65vEfdYzl
— Jabari Smith Jr (@jabarismithjr) January 17, 2023
Smith Sr. and everyone else inside Crypto.com Arena got to witness an absolute masterpiece put on by James in the Lakers’ eight point win. LeBron finished with 48 points, eight rebounds and nine assists to carry the Lakers to victory.
But even still, LeBron had to admit that the news of playing against Smith’s father really reminded him about his age, but gave him an appreciation for how long he’s been able to produce in the league.
“It made me feel extremely old when Jr. told me that,” LeBron said after the game. “He even said if I feel old or something like that context. Like I said postgame, just been extremely blessed to be able to play this game and be able to touch multiple generations.
“I mean, Kenyon Martin Jr. was out there on the court as well. I faced his dad. Gary Trent Sr. I obviously played his son out there in Toronto. Gary Payton and his son. It’s just a unique thing that I’ve been able to withstand the test of time as long as I’ve been playing to be able to compete now versus father and son combinations.”
LeBron has gone from being that young guy in the locker room to being the elder statesman with players around the league who grew up watching him. But the Lakers star also doesn’t find it hard to connect with this younger generation. “I can connect very easily,” James added.
“I have an 18-year-old son, you know, in my house, and having a 19-year-old teammate sitting right next to me at the practice facility, Max [Christie], so I can relate and understand both sides of the spectrum because I’m around it on a day-to-day basis.”
Doc Rivers believes LeBron James has had best career in NBA history
The GOAT debate between LeBron James and Michael Jordan will continue to rage on and one person who experienced both is Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers. Rivers has a bit of a different take as while he still believes Jordan is the greatest he’s seen, he believes LeBron has had the best career ever.
“I think he’s gonna have the greatest career of all time. I think he’s already had it,” Rivers said. “And I think Michael [Jordan] is the greatest of all time, but that doesn’t take away from LeBron. LeBron has had the greatest career. I guess if my dad was alive he would be staring at me right now yelling ‘Bill Russell!’ But I’m saying numbers and everything wise, has anyone had a better career than LeBron? I can’t think of anyone, so that’s impressive.”
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