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Jabari Smith Jr. daggers old-man LeBron, tells James he played his first NBA game against his dad

January 17, 2023

On MLK Day, the Los Angeles Lakers welcomed the Houston Rockets to the Crypto.com Arena (still feels weird saying that). On the floor for the Rockets was a 19-year-old by the name of Jabari Smith Jr., the son of former NBA journeyman Jabari Smith. Smith Jr. was born in May of 2003, five months before LeBron James played his first-ever NBA game. That’s a crazy enough stat on its own, but Smith Jr. made sure to hit old-man LeBron with another fun factoid during the game, delivering one of the best NBA daggers of the season in the process. Check it out.

“You played against my dad” is an all-timer. Forget James’ hairline and corny social-media presence. Nothing confirms that LeBron James, erstwhile phenom, is finally, officially old quite like the fact that he’s now playing against the kids of former opponents. Don't believe us? This is what basketball looked like when LeBron made his first professional start.

On the surface, this appears to be a funny dig from Smith Jr., but there’s another way to look at it. LeBron hasn’t been balling out for two generations because he’s an old man in denial. He’s been balling out for two generations because he’s one of the most elite athletic specimens in human history. Say what you want about where LeBron ranks on the NBA’s all-time list, but he is a pure athlete with few peers. To watch him on Monday all but confirms it. 38 years old, taking sh*t from kids, and he still puts up 48/8/9 in 36 minutes while leading the lousy Lakers to a dub. We don’t care if he played with your great grandpa, that's incredible.