Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ziaire Williams previously said it would be a crazy experience to face LeBron James in the NBA, and the 11th overall pick finally had the opportunity to match up against him on the court.
Of course, Williams was teammates at Sierra Canyon High School with Bronny James, the son of LeBron. He was quite close with Bronny during his senior year and even views LeBron as an uncle figure after playing with Bronny.
When Williams was drafted by the Grizzlies, the possibility of playing LeBron in the NBA hadn’t set in yet. It was two days after the draft that Williams first realized that would happen this season.
“That is going to be a crazy night, for real,” Williams said on July 31. “That’s crazy. It really just hit me that I’m really going to play LeBron. That’s going to be a fun experience.”
After LeBron helped lead the Lakers to the 121-118 victory, he was asked if it had hit him that he played against someone who was teammates with his 17-year-old son.
Absolutely! I’m aware of everything that is going on on the floor. I looked at Ziaire a couple of times and I was just shaking my head inside just remembering a year and a half ago, two years, he was hitting a game-winner to send them to the state championship alongside my son. … It is a weird dynamic for myself to see something like that but I’m happy for the kid, obviously. I had a moment for sure.
LeBron registered 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocked shots during the win. Williams finished with three points, three rebounds and one steal in nearly 18 minutes of work in just his third game in the NBA.
The opportunity to play against LeBron was likely one Williams will never forget. The meeting was the first of four on the schedule this season with the next one coming on Dec. 9 back in L.A.
Williams better get used to facing LeBron and the Lakers this season.