Second-year Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker has generated a lot of positive headlines over the past week. The former Iowa State standout has wowed many preseason viewers with his notable improvement, it has created a lot of buzz for what he will be able to accomplish in 2020.
Unfortunately, with all that positive attention came increased scrutiny of Horton-Tucker’s social media accounts. One thing that eagle-eyed fans quickly discovered was his shot at teammate LeBron James back in 2015.
“Doc Rivers and Austin are the first father and son being with the same team since Delonte West and LeBron James,” his tweet read.
In that tweet Horton-Tucker is referencing one of the most notorious unproven rumors in NBA history – that something happened between James’ mother and his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Delonte West.
For years speculation has run rampant about whether there is any merit to the gossip, with different parties saying different things. While the veracity the claims will continue to be one of the NBA’s great mysteries, Horton-Tucker publicly needling James over it makes things a bit awkward.
Interestingly enough, James has been a huge Horton-Tucker supporter for years. The first time he saw the 20-year-old hoop at Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy, he immediately told his good friend and NBA agent Rich Paul to keep an eye on him.
“I saw him about three and half, four years ago,” James said this week.
“I was watching a high school basketball game and I happened to catch Simeon playing. And I told our agent at the time—it’s now Talen’s agent, Rich Paul—that he needs to take a look at this kid Talen Horton-Tucker that’s at Simeon. I think the kid is super talented. This was like four years ago.”
LeBron talks about first seeing Talen Horton-Tucker play four years ago and telling his agent to take a look at him. pic.twitter.com/ugF0xUwhZ0
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) December 15, 2020
Horton-Tucker was ultimately taken with the 46th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, only to be immediately traded to the Lakers for a 2020 second round draft pick and cash considerations.
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 16, 2020
Controversial tweets notwithstanding, Horton-Tucker impressed a lot of people this past week after a 33-point outburst against the Los Angeles Clippers in a preseason outing. His stat line read: 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in 29 minutes of action. One game earlier, he finished with 19 points to lead all Lakers.
Based on how Horton-Tucker has balled out in the preseason thus far, it will be interesting to see what his relationship with James ultimately ends up looking like — both on and off the court.