NBA legend LeBron James reflected on playing against Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Ziaire Williams, the former teammate of James’ 17-year-old son Bronny.
There are a few ways to quantify just how long LeBron James has been dominating the game of basketball. He’s 36 years old, turning 37 later this year on Dec. 30. He was drafted in 2003 at the age of 18, spending the past 18 years in the NBA. That means that at this point, James has lived just as much of his life in the NBA as outside of it.
But what made James deeply consider just how long he’s been around the court was playing against Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Ziaire Williams on Oct. 24. The 20-year-old Williams was selected with the tenth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but just a few years ago, he was LeBron James Jr.’s high school teammate.
After the Lakers narrowly came out with their first win of the season, 121-118, the media pressed the elder James to see whether or not playing against someone 16 years his junior registered with him.
James laughed and shook his head, then answered, “absolutely.”
James elaborated on what was going through his head as he played opposite his son’s former teammate.
“I’m aware of everything that’s going on out on the floor, and I looked at Zaire a couple of times and I was just shaking my head inside, just remembering a year and a half ago, two years — not even a full two years — when he hit a game-winner to send them to the state championship alongside my son, and going to the game and supporting Sierra Canyon. One year at Stanford, and now he’s here, so it’s a weird dynamic for myself to see something like that, but happy for the kid, obviously. But I had a moment for sure.”
LeBron James on playing against Ziaire Williams, Bronny’s former teammate: “It’s a weird dynamic”
Before their close loss to the Lakers, the Grizzlies started the 2021-22 NBA season 2-0 with Williams in the rotation. Williams has seen quick success in his young career, playing a year at Stanford before declaring for the NBA Draft.
Williams saw 17 minutes in the season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, having what Beale Street Bears’ Jack Williams described as “a solid game.”
Aside from a first-half turnover, Ziaire Williams showed immense promise as a young player in the league.