On Saturday, Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double with a 19-point, 11-rebound and 13-assist performance in a loss against the Milwaukee Bucks.
After getting off to an historically-terrible start to his career from a shooting perspective, the 6’6”, 190-pound ball-handler went an efficient 7-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the effort.
As a result, social media exploded and the feat caught a lot of attention based on his popularity.
Ball accomplished the triple-double at 20 years and 15 days old, which was five days sooner than the previous record of 20 years and 20 days old set by LeBron James in the 2004-2005 season.
Therefore, it was only natural that James was asked about Ball breaking his record in advance of his game against the New York Knicks on Monday night.
"I definitely think back to when I was that young," James said, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "There's not many games that I can remember when I was 20 years old or 19 or even 18. So first of all, congratulations to him… I think he's going to be a really, really good point guard in our league, probably a great point guard if he continues to work on his craft, which it seems like he does. They got a good one.”
Word of LeBron’s statement got to Ball before his game against the Phoenix Suns and he said, "It's motivation. Personally, LeBron, if he says that it's like an honor. So I'm gonna work and keep trying to get better every day.”
James had previously given Ball a birthday shoutout on Instagram, so it seems as though he is a fan of the rookie.
Ball made his loyalty to James well-known when he shockingly chose LeBron over Kobe Bryant when asked who was a better all-time player.
"My favorite player was LeBron growing up. But he does have a point. Championships do mean a lot. But, uhh, it’s tough. I’m a Laker. I want to go with Kobe. But I’ve been saying LeBron for my whole life, so I’ma go with LeBron," he said.
He was willing to risk losing some fans over that.
LeBron and Lonzo will square off in their first of two meetings this season on December 14 in Cleveland. While the kind words will continue until then, James and company will make beating Ball and his squad a priority when they take the court against each other.