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Indiana Pacers new boy Bennedict Mathurin calls out LeBron James

The Pacers’ rookie is definitely not shy, but the question remains as to whether or not he can back up his talk.

Indiana Pacers new boy Bennedict Mathurin calls out LeBron James
Ron HoskinsGetty

If there’s one way to make an entrance to a league, it’s got to be challenging the best player out there right off the bat.

Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin challenges LeBron James

It appears as though the Indiana Pacers have a live wire on their hands. Having only recently been selected in the 2022 NBA Draft, Bennedict Mathurin wasted no time in giving journalists, players and fans alike a reason to talk when he directly called out LeBron James. Yes, the same LeBron James who is among the greatest players in NBA history. Having not played a single game in the NBA yet, it seems almost incredulous that the rookie would be so bold, but that’s exactly what he was during a recent interview when he said that James will have to prove he’s a better play than he is.

Mathurin who was speaking just before the NBA Draft, disclosed that there was in fact one test - perhaps the biggest of them all - that he was particularly relishing ahead of his maiden season in the NBA and that was of course his first game against the icon of the Los Angeles Lakers and perhaps the NBA itself, LeBron James. “A lot of people say he’s great,” Mathurin said. “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.” Fighting words indeed.

Is LeBron James the kind of challenge you want?

Given the fact that whatever we say on the internet these days is essentially saved forever, it’s quite likely that Mathurin’s statement will resurface once again when the two meet in the coming NBA regular season. Whether it happens in the form of ridicule or an ‘i told you so’ moment remains to be seen, but there is one thing that remains certain and that’s the fact that LeBron James is still more than capable of turning in MVP performances. ‘King James’ averaged 30.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this last season and though the Lakers ultimately capitulated in what was perhaps their worst season in recent memory, the fact remains that James would be a welcome in any team in the league.

What about Bennedict Mathurin?

Where the rookie himself is concerned, it should be said that he enters the NBA with a a degree of anticipation. Selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, it’s clear that the rookie is no slouch. As the first ever graduate of the NBA’s Latin America Academy to be selected in the draft, the 20 year old comes into the NBA having survived tragedies ranging from the loss of his older brother - he was struck by a car - during adolescence, to the loss of his father at too young an age to recall. Now here he is.

On the other hand the rookie will have to prove himself, before he can even consider the challenge or possible lesson that he may face when he finally squares up against LeBron James and co. Either way, with the 2022-23 NBA schedule still yet to be released, Mathurin has time to prepare. Regardless, remember to keep in mind this report when the Pacers finally meet the Lakers this coming season.