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Indiana Pacers draft pick Bennedict Mathurin has the utmost confidence in his abilities going into his rookie season, which is what any professional basketball player should have.
But calling out LeBron James before even stepping onto the court is a bolder-than-expected move for the former Arizona Wildcats guard.
Mathurin told The Washington Post Friday that James, a four-time NBA champion who has won titles with three teams and earned 18 All-Star appearances and four MVP awards, has to prove he’s better than Mathurin.
“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.”
It didn’t appear the Lakers star, 37, had responded to the comments from Mathurin, 20.
The Pacers selected Mathurin with the No. 6 pick in Thursday’s draft. He left Arizona after two seasons with the Wildcats.
In his final year, Mathurin averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He was the 2022 Pac-12 Player of the Year, 2022 Pac-12 Tournament MVP and was an All-Pac-12 Tournament selection.
Indiana finished the 2021-22 season with a 25-57 record.