The Los Angeles Lakers signed Marc Gasol during the offseason to a two-year, $5.2 million contract. The deal was universally praised by everyone, including the team’s biggest star and leader LeBron James.
“I’m happy as hell to have big Marc Gasol, who Laker Nation knows [because] he was traded for his older brother,” an excited James said a few weeks back.
“Happy to have Marc, another champion, won with the [Toronto] Raptors two years ago, who I’ve always loved. Marc has my Defensive Player of the Year trophy at his house, but that’s not here or there. I love you, Marc. I can’t wait to talk about this.”
Gasol won the 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, with James finishing second. Even at the time, the then-Miami Heat star was extremely salty about it.
“It sucks,” James said in 2013. “It sucks. It sucks.”
“It definitely sucks, though,” he continued. “Finishing second? Who wants to finish second?”
James then argued that he deserved the award because he always took on the job of guarding anyone on the floor.
“I mean, I guard everybody on the floor. I don’t know if there’s one player in NBA history who’s guarded one through five (positions). It’s over with now, but that’s cool.”
Needless to say, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year vote still lingers in his mind.
This week, Gasol responded to James’ comments with a pretty savage comeback: you didn’t deserve it either.
Who did? In Gasol’s estimation, it was his then-Memphis Grizzlies teammate, Tony Allen.
“I believe that trophy is for the Grizzlies in 2013,” he said.
“I think the team that deserved to have that trophy was the Grizzlies. For some reason, they picked me. If anybody, the one that should have claimed that trophy was Tony Allen, from my point of view.
“At the same time, from the First All-Defensive Team, I believe I should be there. But I don’t, and I don’t care. We (LeBron) can have a laugh about it if he wants. If not, I’m sure he can get that this year if he wants to.”
Imagine breaking into a house thinking you’re gonna find Kylie Jenner and finding a 6’6”, 220-pound NBA star instead.https://t.co/ZRN9T2pjYM
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 5, 2020
Gasol famously didn’t make the All-Defensive First Team that year, which is obviously odd if he was deemed the best defender in the league. Instead, he finished behind Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah, who finished ahead of him with the most center votes.
Old feuds notwithstanding, the Lakers look to be in a great position this year with the addition of Gasol. He and Montrezl Harrell are significant upgrades over Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee, so if LA captured a title with the latter two, they should definitely be in good position with the former.