Pacers Rookie Bennedict Mathurin On LeBron James: ‘He’s Going To Have To Show Me He’s Better Than Me’

A quick story: The NBA held a Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during the 2020 All-Star weekend in Chicago. A young Canadian prospect named Bennedict Mathurin was among the top performers at the camp, consistently going at dudes and and throwing down a dunk so hard at one point that he tweaked something but was ultimately fine. Myself and my colleague, Robby Kalland, both decided in that moment that he had the mentality to be That Dude™ at some point in his basketball playing career.

Fast forward to this past season at Arizona where Mathurin was a consensus second-team All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year, which he parlayed into going sixth overall in the 2022 NBA Draft to the Indiana Pacers. In a new piece by Ben Golliver of the Washington Post, Mathurin explained that he’s excited for his first game against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Why? Well…

“A lot of people say he’s great,” Mathurin said to Golliver. “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.”

I would wager there are not many people who have come into the NBA in the last 20 years with “LeBron James has to prove to me that he is better than I am” as a thing that they believe. This young man is cut from a different cloth and I very much hope the first Lakers-Pacers game is put on national television.