LeBron James finally reveals what he said to Lonzo Ball last season

An NBA mystery that stretched months was finally answered Monday. LeBron James revealed what he said to Lonzo Ball during their postgame conversation from last season.

James told Steve Mason and John Ireland of ESPN that he told Ball, “No one can define who you are but yourself,” among other things. 

James’ entire answer was transcribed by FTW.

“The gist of it was at the end of the day, no one can define who you are but yourself. When you’re young, you can get caught up and listening to what people say, what people thinking that you should be, what people saying what your game should be. But at the end of the day, no one can define who are you besides yourself. If you put in the work, you commit to the game, then the game will give back to you. And that’s all it’s about.

“Zo’s got a lot of talent. You can tell he loves the game. You can tell his teammates love playing with him. So, he’s going to be great for this franchise.”

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LeBron James and Lonzo Ball
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LeBron James and Lonzo Ball
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 14: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers listens to LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the game at Quicken Loans Arena on December 14, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Lakers 121-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Dec 14, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) throws a pass between Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) and forward Brandon Ingram (14) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) grabs a pass in front of Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers embrace during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 14, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 14: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 14, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 14: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers shakes hands with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the game at Quicken Loans Arena on December 14, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Lakers 121-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Moments after the initial conversation took place, people wanted to know what was said. It was clear James wanted the exchange to remain private, as he held his jersey over his mouth when he spoke to Ball. James told a reporter, “None of y’all business,” when asked about the chat after the game.

While this is the first time James has commented about the nature of the exchange, fans already knew exactly what was said. Audio of James’ conversation with Ball was picked up by a microphone on the court. 

James’ explanation of the conversation is pretty much accurate. He encouraged Ball to be himself and to ignore all the noise. James does omit that he used profanity in the initial conversation and told Ball to not tell the media about the exchange.

In the end, all the bad jokes on Twitter about the conversation were dead wrong.

If there’s a mystery here, it’s figuring out why James wanted to keep the chat a secret in the first place. A veteran giving a young player encouragement isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff.

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Lebron James as a Laker
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Lebron James as a Laker
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a portrait during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; LeBron James listens to a question during an interview session with reporters during the Los Angeles Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is surrounded by cameras as he leaves the the UCLA Health Training Center floor during the Los Angeles Lakers media day. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Lonzo Ball #2 LeBron James #23 Kyle Kuzma #0 and Brandon Ingram #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a portrait during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
September 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James during media day at UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
September 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James before speaking to media at UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
September 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James speaks to media at UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; LeBron James answers a question during an interview session with reporters during the Los Angeles Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
September 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during media day at UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; LeBron James answers a question during an interview session with reporters during the Los Angeles Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a headshot during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a portrait during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James makes his first official appearance in a Lakers uniform at media day at the Los Angeles Lakers training facility in El Segundo on Monday, Sep. 24, 2018. (Photo by Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James conducts an interview at media day at the Los Angeles Lakers training facility in El Segundo on Monday, Sep. 24, 2018. (Photo by Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers laughs as he speaks on a set during the Los Angeles Lakers Media Day at the UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Head Coach Luke Walton and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a portrait during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a portrait during media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 24, 2018 in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Atiba Jefferson/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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