On January 9, the Memphis Grizzlies blasted the Lakers in Los Angeles, winning 127-119 after leading by 24 going into the fourth quarter. It was a statement win for the young Grizzlies, who have continued their rise up the Western Conference standings since then to take the third spot 53 games into the season at 35-18 (a full 10 games up on the ninth-place Lakers).
During that blowout, LeBron James grew furious with the brash young Grizzlies who would not stop running their mouth at the Hall of Famer, which they were certainly earning the right to with the way they were playing. At one point, James was caught on the on-court mics losing his cool at Desmond Bane, who gave him a bump after earning a trip to the free throw line, leading LeBron to tell him “that’s your last time disrespecting me.”
ok so Desmond Bane said something that LeBron was extremely displeased about so he decided to do this after the free throws at the other end pic.twitter.com/E5PDFo7Vue
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 10, 2022
Ja Morant stepped in with a grin and Kyle Anderson told James to calm down, but it was a defining moment for the Grizzlies, showing they were going to be themselves no matter the opponent. On Wednesday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN dropped a feature on the Grizzlies and used that game as the centerpiece, offering some tremendous details about what led to James snapping on Bane. One line in particular illustrated the sensational trash talking abilities of the 23-year-old wing, and also offered a glimpse at what eventually led James to pop off at him.
A minute later, a Lakers turnover leads to another fast break for the Grizzlies. Bane swishes a trailer 3 — wide open because James is slow getting back in transition — and lets the all-time great know about it:
“Them footsteps ain’t scaring nobody.”
It really is a great line and is emblematic of the way this Grizzlies team approaches every game with an edge and belief that they are better than their opponent, even if that is a player they grew up idolizing. The Memphis players push back on it being disrespectful in the story, noting that they’re well aware of James’ greatness, but also saying it’s just part of how they play and it keeps them on that edge and at their top level, so if people get mad so be it and if they bark back even better.