NBA vet blasts Grizzlies over treatment of Dillon Brooks: ‘When you offend LeBron, everyone gets mad’
Dillon Brooks has been a lightning rod topic around the NBA in recent weeks, and news on Tuesday that the Memphis Grizzlies have told the former Oregon Duck they do not plan to bring him back to the team “under any circumstances” has ignited even more conversation about Brooks and his recent play.
Brooks is a free agent this offseason. He was the only player on the roster to start at least 70 games for the Grizzlies, and he averaged 14.3 points to help lead the charge to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. After six years with the organization, it seems the partnership is coming to a rough and abrupt end.
“I think think it’s bulls–t,” said longtime NBA journeyman Stephen Jackson on the Paper Route podcast. “I guess when you offend LeBron, everyone gets mad. I guess when you compete against LeBron, everybody gets mad. Yeah, he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Yeah, he might say some things. But he ain’t the first player to do that. Ron Artest did it. I did it. Draymond (Green) does it. I don’t understand. I guess he poked the wrong bear, but I don’t agree with that s–t. I don’t agree with them coming out and saying that s–t.”
Brooks made headlines when he called LeBron James old during the Grizzlies’ first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers, adding that he “pokes bears” and “I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40 (points).” Those comments came after the Grizzlies won Game 2 to tie the series. James responded with his play in Game 3, when the Lakers opened up a 35-9 first-quarter lead en route to a 111-101 victory.
That night, Brooks was ejected in the third quarter after he struck James in the groin. After the loss, and after two others in Los Angeles, Brooks declined to speak to the media — moves that drew fines from the NBA. The Grizzlies lost the series and enter into a pivotal offseason.
Brooks, the franchise’s longest-tenured player, seemed to embrace the role of agitator this season. He was hit with a suspension for striking Gary Payton II in the head in the playoffs last year. Earlier this season, he hit Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell in the groin, igniting a fight with Cleveland.
The Athletic also reported on Tuesday that Memphis made contract extension offers to Brooks early in the season, but they were rejected.
“I’ve been in those shoes when people try to demean your character and say these certain things about you and don’t understand that this guy just likes playing the game a certain type of way. He plays hard. Is he the most talented player? No, but he competes. He’s in the NBA for a reason. Y’all signed him, y’all brought him there for a reason. Don’t demean him now because he said some things.
“… Don’t just try to single Dillon Brooks out just because he played the game a different type of way with a chip on his shoulder to make it seem like he’s a bad guy and we’re just gonna come out and say we don’t want to bring him back at all. I think that’s bulls–t on their behalf.”
You can see the full exchange from Jackson below: