Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin has taken the NBA by storm. Some might even go as far as saying that he’s the best rookie in his class thus far.
One thing you can say for sure about Mathurin is that he is not lacking in self-confidence. Even before the season started, the 20-year-old decided to call out none other than Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. Mathurin earlier challenged LeBron to prove that he was better than him — a statement that the young guard has now backtracked on ahead of the Pacers’ Monday night matchup against LA.
For starters, here’s Mathurin’s exact quote about LeBron:
“A lot of people say he’s great,” Mathurin said previously. “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.”
Hours before Indiana’s game against LeBron and Co., however, Mathurin opted to fall back on his earlier statement. The Pacers rookie pretty much tried to take back what he said about The King a few months ago:
“I think he’s the best to ever play,” Mathurin said. “People probably misunderstood what I was trying to say. Me just coming into the league, I won’t say anybody’s better than me. That’s me being confident.”
There’s definitely something about the prospect of facing off against the great LeBron James for the first time. Bennedict Mathurin clearly felt this same sense of foreboding, which is probably what caused him to do a full 180 on his previous provocation.
Whether he will admit it or not, I’m pretty sure LeBron has somehow caught wind of Mathurin’s challenge. This will just give him some extra motivation coming into Monday’s contest.