LeBron James in not much of a trash talker.
While some of the game’s all-time fiercest competitors use this tactic to motivate themselves and get under their opponent’s skin at the very same time — guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, for example — James prefers to be more of a quiet assassin, focusing on the task at hand.
But when others engage, James is more than willing to strike back.
Speaking to reporters at media availability on Friday, LeBron responded to a question about an incident that took place with Draymond Green during Green’s rookie season — but James made it clear that the back-and-forth exchange wasn’t his idea.
Q: LeBron, Draymond remembers when he was a rookie the first time I think he faced you when you were with the Heat in 2012. There was a play in the post that you kind of abused him and you said, You’re too small. He said that motivated him to this day; he still thinks about it. Do you remember the moment, and what do you think of the way he’s evolved since that moment in his rookie year?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, if you knew Draymond, he started the trash talking first in that game. I’m not much of a trash talker, but he started it first his rookie year. So don’t let him try to start up a story on why he’s motivated because I said something. He started it, and I finished it (smiling).
“You’re too small” is the most benign form of trash talk possible. It’s a phrase players use all the time to chide their opponent when not intending to be mean-spirited, and when not attempting to inflict too much emotional damage.
James, at this point, is very savvy when it comes to answering questions like these. His honesty is refreshing, as is his ability to see what the angle is while setting the record straight.