The Los Angeles Lakers trailed the Utah Jazz by 12 points with six minutes left in regulation on February 16. Anthony Davis suffered a gruesome right ankle injury in the first half and needed help getting off the floor, seemingly taking the air out of Crypto.com Arena.
It appeared the purple and gold were on their way to losing their fourth consecutive game heading into the All-Star break. However, LeBron James had other ideas.
With Los Angeles Rams superstar Aaron Donald sitting courtside across the Lakers’ bench, LeBron put on a vintage performance, scoring 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. The four-time MVP, who was at the Super Bowl and watched Donald dominate the Cincinnati Bengals, reminded everyone that he’s still the best player in the NBA when he’s aggressive on offense despite being 37 and in his 19th season.
The Lakers wound up defeating the Jazz by a final score of 106-101 to improve to 27-31 on the season. After the final buzzer sounded, LeBron went up to Donald and the two shared a powerful hug for several seconds.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said what LeBron did against the Jazz was “remarkable.” That quote wasn’t surprising to hear. However, what was eye-opening was what Utah coach Quin Snyder said about LBJ during his postgame media session.
Snyder on LeBron: He’s the GOAT
While discussing the Jazz’s loss to the Lakers, Snyder called LeBron “the greatest player of all time.” It was a bold statement considering most NBA fans and pundits believe Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, who went 6-0 in the Finals and won six Finals MVPs, is the GOAT.
“(He’s) the greatest player of all time,” Snyder said about LeBron, via Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Some people might dispute that, but that’s what I’m calling him.”
LeBron finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists against the Jazz while shooting 14-of-23 from the field, 3-of-8 from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. He has scored at least 25 points in 23 straight games, tying Elgin Baylor for the longest streak within a season in Lakers history.
Donald had a busy day on February 16. The Rams had their championship parade earlier in the day and Donald had a blast. LeBron, who slapped hands with the Rams star after hitting a tough reverse layup in the second half, greatly appreciated Donald for taking time out of his busy schedule to watch the Lakers play.
LeBron on Donald: ‘I Just Tried to Take the Inspiration of What He Was Able to Accomplish’
It looked like LeBron played with more energy once he saw Donald take his courtside seat at Crypto.com Arena. The King told reporters that the Rams’ defensive legend is “the greatest defensive player I have ever seen.”
“I just tried to take the inspiration of what he was able to accomplish over the past couple days,” LeBron said about Donald, via ESPN. “He’s the greatest defensive player I have ever seen play the sport. For him to take time out of his day and watch us play after the parade was amazing.”
LeBron will play in his 18th straight All-Star Game this weekend in his hometown of Cleveland. After the All-Star break, the Lakers will face the Los Angeles Clippers to begin their second half of the season.