Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin immediately made headlines a few hours after he was drafted. The sixth overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft seemingly challenged Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James when he said this:

“A lot of people say he’s great. 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.”

At the time, many people were shocked by Mathurin's boldness and apparent disrespect. Even LeBron's haters couldn't help but disagree with his comments. A week after his message went viral, Mathurin was asked about his comments about the Lakers star. The rookie explained that it wasn't meant as a disrespect to LeBron, but rather his way of hyping himself up (via James Boyd).

“I think he’s the best player to ever play the game. … But me just coming into the league, I won’t say anybody’s better than me. That’s me being confident.”

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Many fans immediately jumped on Mathurin's head for seemingly disrespecting LeBron James. For many Lakers fans, it was absurd to hear a rookie that hasn't played a single minute in the NBA say that about LeBron. It seems like most of the outrage, though, was misguided, as it was just Mathurin's way of saying he won't back down against anyone.

Regardless, the NBA will definitely be tuning in to the first time the Lakers and Pacers meet in the playoffs. Can Mathurin walk his talk and go toe-to-toe against the King?