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It's one thing for an NBA rookie to have confidence in his ability. It's a whole other thing to immediately call out one of the greatest NBA players of all time before you've played a single game.
That didn't stop Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin from calling out Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. In an interview with the Washington Post, Mathurin said James is going to have to prove he's a better player than Mathurin.
Before slipping off to his hotel room to make his final preparations for the draft, Mathurin said that there was one test, maybe the biggest of all, that he was particularly looking forward as a rookie: His first game against Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
“A lot of people say he’s great,” Mathurin said. “I want to see how great he is. I don’t think anybody is better than me. He’s going to have to show me he’s better than me.”
That statement is most likely going to end poorly for Mathurin. Despite his age, James proved capable of still performing at an elite level last year. He averaged 30.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. It was only the third time in his career James averaged over 30 points per game.
As for Mathurin, he'll have to focus on proving himself in the NBA after being selected by the Pacers with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. Our own Krysten Peek liked the pick, saying Mathurin should pair well with Tyrese Haliburton and Malcolm Brogdon.
The 2022-23 NBA schedule has yet to be released, so it's unclear when Mathurin and James will play against each other. There's a good chance Mathurin's quote will resurface shortly after that contest, and it probably won't be a good thing for the rookie.