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LeBron James Gives Stern Message to Anyone Who Criticizes His Choice to Mentor Younger Players

LeBron James spoke to reporters on Sunday night in New Orleans, after his team the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 122-114.

The interview took place in the locker room, and James wouldn’t reveal what he told the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson once the game was finished. The two embraced on the court as cameras flashed around them, and while he hid his mouth with a towel, James relayed a few words to the 19-year-old Williamson.

LeBron James had some words for those who criticize how he mentors younger players in the NBA. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images)

“It’s my obligation, it’s my job to continue to pass on the game to the guys that’s coming in after me,” said James. “That’s just my responsibility. No one told me to do that. I just feel like it’s my responsibility to leave the game in a better place than when I had it.

“You see all these young guys. The league is in a very good place,” he added. “The game has given me so much since I started playing when I was eight years old, so it’s my responsibility.”

James then spoke to anyone who would question his desire to pass on wisdom to the younger players that he’s competing against.

“Anybody that says, ‘LeBron, why would he do that while he’s playing? It’s showing a sign of weakness. He’s buddy buddy with the guys that he’s going against.’ Tell ’em to kiss my ass, with a smile too,” said James.

James also mentioned some of the younger players who he believes will help the NBA grow even bigger than it is now.

Those players are Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks, the Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell.

In the Lakers’ victory over the Pelicans, James had 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists. Williamson, meanwhile, had 35 points, and seven boards.

Similar to James, Williamson was the No. 1 draft pick and, as a rookie, his first year has been surrounded by plenty of hype.

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