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.”

8 PHOTOS
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)
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
PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter of their game at Moda Center on October 18, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. 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 Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the basketball against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets on October 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, 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. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James celebrates with fans after scoring during the overtime period of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 143-142. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) grabs a rebound over Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap (4) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Houston Rockets' Chris Paul, second from left, is held back by Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, left, as Paul fights with Lakers' Rajon Rondo, center obscured, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Rockets won, 124-115. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers misses a last second shot in front of Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs to lose 143-142 in overtime at Staples Center on October 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 24: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 24, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Lakers defeated the Suns 131-113. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the basketball against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets on October 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, 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. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 10: LeBron James #23 and Lance Stephenson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after James made a shot against the Golden State Warriors and was fouled during their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles reacts during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Valley View Casino Center on September 30, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a shot in front of Torrey Craig #3 of the Denver Nuggets during a preseason game at Staples Center on October 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/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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