Rui Hachimura shared insights into the Dillon Brooks-LeBron James dynamic, suggesting Brooks aims to carve a place in James’ legacy. Over recent seasons, Brooks hasn’t cultivated a favorable relationship with James and the Lakers. Last season, he notably expressed his desire to face off against James, claiming he only respects those who challenge him to score 40 points. Although James hasn’t achieved that feat against Brooks, he’s managed to outplay him in various other ways.
For instance, in a pivotal Game 6, the Lakers clinched the series by beating Brooks’ Grizzlies with a commanding 40-point margin. While James fell short of the 40-point mark in a recent one-point victory against Brooks and the Rockets, Brooks’ performance against the Lakers in the playoffs led Memphis to opt against re-signing him as a free agent. Despite Brooks’ improved play in Houston and the Rockets’ victory over the Lakers earlier in the season, James currently holds the upper hand in their rivalry.
Hachimura suggests Brooks’ persistence in provoking James stems from a desire to intertwine himself with James’ legacy. Brooks previously hinted at “building our dynasty” when with the Grizzlies, implying consideration of his historical impact and his team’s trajectory.
However, Hachimura doesn’t believe Brooks affects James in the same way. He perceives it as inconsequential to James, potentially even serving as motivation. In closely contested games like Sundays, any added incentive can significantly impact performance. While James narrowly secured a victory against Brooks, Hachimura implies that facing a less contentious opponent might not have sparked the same competitive drive in James. Having a touch of extra incentive, like Brooks’ comments, never hurts and could serve as valuable motivation.