Jalen Brunson was double-teamed 30 times against the Lakers on Saturday night, but he still dropped 36 points in the New York Knicks' loss. New York had the chance to win, even without three starters and Quentin Grimes, but fell apart late in the fourth quarter.
Like always, LeBron James trolled Knicks fans leading up to the matchup. With trade rumors already swirling around his name, he said he's considered joining the Knicks in his career (remember 2010?). The 39-year-old great replied to a tweet with the Statue of Liberty emoji and a crown, and then he showed up to MSG in orange and blue kicks.
No matter what Stephen A. says, New York shouldn't think about trading for LeBron even if he were available. He doesn't fit the Knicks' timeline, but the organization is no longer hungry for stars. New York already has two in Brunson and Julius Randle, who were both named All-Stars.
LeBron recognizes that, too. Before he suited up to play in his favorite away arena, he praised Brunson.
"Jalen’s phenomenal. He’s phenomenal,” James said from the Nike headquarters in Manhattan. “Super happy for him, super proud of him. You know, first-time All-Star, seeing his emotion after the last game, I think that’s super cool, super dope."- LeBron James, via New York Post
Lakers superstar LeBron James says Jalen Brunson's been "phenomenal" for Knicks
Brunson has been living in a dream for the past week. He earned his first All-Star nod on Thursday and hours later received MVP chants at MSG in a thrilling win over the Pacers for the Knicks' ninth-straight victory. The week ending with LeBron calling him "phenomenal" and saying he's proud of him is the cherry on top.
It's hard to believe, but two years ago, Brunson was still playing behind Luka Doncic with the Mavericks. He was respected in Dallas, but that was about it. He bet on himself and signed a four-year deal with the Knicks in free agency, joining a team that came up short of the Play-In Tournament the season before. Look at all that he's already accomplished, and he's nowhere near finished.
Brunson's not one to gloat, not even close. When asked about his individual success, he usually deflects to what his teammates have done. He's probably still frustrated about losing to the Lakers last night, but it has to be pretty cool for him to be applauded by none other than LeBron James.