Dillon Brooks poked the bear, and LeBron James punched back. In the aftermath of his team’s ugly defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, though, the Memphis Grizzlies’ brash, confident wing doesn’t regret his inflammatory comments about the four-time champion. Brooks, in fact, has no plans on changing his intentionally combative approach in the future.
Speaking with reporters during Grizzlies exit interviews on Sunday, Brooks did everything but explicitly double down on his headline-making criticism of James after Memphis’ Game 2 win.
“I’m a competitor. I compete,” he said, per Parker Fleming of Grizzly Bear Blues. “…I’ll continue to be me and get better at what I do.”
The Lakers eliminated Memphis from the postseason in blowout fashion on Friday night, James implicitly responding to Brooks with a postgame Instagram post. After Brooks called the 20-year-veteran “old” and said he “doesn’t respect anyone until they give me 40,” James turned back the clock to help Los Angeles regain control of the series.
He dropped 21 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and doled out seven assists while leading the Lakers to a pivotal overtime victory in Game 4, then had 22 points, five rebounds and six assists on hyper-efficient shooting in Game 6 to send the Grizzlies home for good. Brooks, meanwhile, opted out of his media obligations following the Grizzlies’ season-ending loss, drawing a fine from the league office and making his sudden silence the butt of jokes across the internet.
Dillon Brooks is a free agent this summer. Asked if he’d be returning to Memphis, Brooks expressed optimism he’d remain in Grind City going forward.
Either way, expect the personal rivalry between Brooks and James to continue.