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.”
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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