Early in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night, Jaylen Brown got the chance to cross something off his bucket list.
The 6-foot-6 Brown took full advantage of an opportunity that doesn’t present itself often when Brown got past Danny Green and came barreling down the lane, meeting LeBron James in the restricted area.
But James couldn't match Brown’s elevation as Brown rose up to throw down a thunderous, two-handed dunk to posterize James and create a picture-perfect moment for the ascending star.
“Just being aggressive and just made a play at the rim,” said Brown of his loudest bucket of the night as he finished with 20 points, six rebounds and four assists in a 139-107 victory. “I ain’t going to lie, though, it was pretty awesome.”
Brown’s dunk set the tone for the second half as he announced his presence with authority with the slam, hanging on the rim, letting out a scream and glaring at James — Brown received a technical foul for all of that — as the NBA superstar tried to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.
For Brown, who had missed the previous two games due to a thumb sprain, he just took it all in as the crowd roared in a frenzy because of his highlight-reel dunk.
“Adrenaline’s pumping,” Brown said. “It’s crazy. ... I felt nothing. All my pain at certain points just went away just because your heart is pounding so fast. I didn’t feel none of my injuries.”
And while Brown got the better of James on that occasion, Brown holds James in the highest of regard, which is what made it an even more memorable play.
“Just to be out there playing against one of the best players to ever play the game is an honor,” Brown said. “I always like that matchup. It always give me a little extra boost.”
Brown’s dunk over King James flooded in flashbacks of when the Celtics other blossoming star in Jayson Tatum threw it down on James in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018.
Here's Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown dunking on LeBron James in one video. pic.twitter.com/7RR1TAlYpr— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) January 21, 2020
Both Brown and Tatum agreed that Tatum’s aggressive slam edge out Brown’s, but nonetheless, it didn’t diminish the feat.
“That was a helluva play by Jaylen,” Tatum said. “He’s so gifted, especially athletically. It surprised me, I didn’t think he was going to dunk it.”
James probably didn’t think so, either, or he would have moved out of the way before appearing in another poster.