Dillon Brooks spent the better part of a month talking trash to perhaps the NBA's most dangerous target: LeBron James. He pegged James and the Los Angeles Lakers as his opponent because he wanted to "knock him out right away." He called James "old" and argued that he doesn't "respect anyone until they come and give me 40." He even got himself ejected from Game 3 for hitting James in the groin.
So how did that work out for Brooks? Not well. James never quite scored 40 on him... but he did reach 40 in the aggregate in Game 4 by scoring 22 points and pulling in 20 rebounds. Then, in Game 6, the Lakers won by a final score of 125-85. That's a margin of exactly 40 points. Brooks was fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media after Games 3, 4 and 6.
He finally did address the media on Sunday at his team's exit interviews. However, when asked if he regrets what he said, he stood by everything. "No, that's who I am," Brooks told reporters. "I don't regret it. I'm a competitor. I compete."
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There's such a thing as being a quiet competitor, of course. The Grizzlies developed an identity around trash-talking this season, and Brooks was far from the only player to engage in it. He was the focal point, though, and it could potentially cost him. Brooks is a free agent this offseason, and general manager Zach Kleiman didn't exactly sound committed to bringing him back.
"I think there were certainly self-created distractions we were navigating in this series," Kleiman said. "As we're looking forward and thinking about what comes next, those are all things that we're going to keep in mind from a competitive standpoint."
Talking trash in itself is rarely a problem. But, as Brooks himself put it, he poked a bear. There are certain players that shouldn't be given extra motivation. Memphis gave it to James and he knocked them out of the playoffs. There's a lesson to be learned out of that, but for now, it doesn't appear as if Brooks plans to change anything moving forward.