One of new Lakers players Trevor Ariza’s first interactions with the media was an interview with Sports Talk Today. Ariza jokingly responded to a question about how he was adjusting to L.A. by stating he was “a little overwhelmed” and “caught up in the moment” in his first game with the Lakers. When asked about LeBron James being trash-talked by Ariza’s uncle in a high school basketball game, Ariza just laughed it off.
LeBron James and the Lakers looked to get back on track in their quest for the NBA championship, after a disappointing loss to the Toronto Raptors in the first round. But then, the Cavaliers fell short to the Clippers in the first game of the second round. No worries, though, the Lakers had this guy to straighten them out.
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Since entering the NBA in 2003, LeBron James has had roughly 180 different teammates between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers. When the 2021-22 season starts, many names will be added to that list, as the Lakers signed a number of prominent free agents, including Trevor Ariza, a 17-year NBA veteran who won a championship with Kobe Bryant in 2009.
Although James and Ariza have had a few professional disagreements over the years, their history goes back to their final year of high school. While James was widely regarded as the greatest player in the nation, Ariza was one of the top 20 players in the country in 2003.
So when the two were set to meet in their senior year, the anticipation was palpable. However, while everyone else was hopping on the LeBron bandwagon, Ariza and his uncle were not so quick to get on board, and made a few remarks about James before the game. But, as he frequently does, “The King” demonstrated why he’s “The King” by not only defeating Ariza, but also scoring the same number of points as Ariza’s whole squad.
In 2003, LeBron James and Trevor Ariza were both considered top-20 prospects.
LeBron James was already a celebrity when he entered his senior year at St. Vincent-St. Mary. As a junior, he was the first underclassman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and he was the first-ever junior to be awarded Gatorade National Player of the Year after averaging 29 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 3.3 steals per game.
As a senior, James was already well-known enough that ESPN broadcast many of his games, and Time Warner even provided pay-per-view options for their games. Because there was such a strong desire to see him outside of Ohio, James and the Fighting Irish went across the country to face many highly rated teams. They also participated in some of the world’s most renowned events against a number of high-profile teams.
One of those high-profile squads James & Co. competed against was Westchester High School out of Los Angeles, a team that featured the No. 18 prospect in the country, UCLA-bound Trevor Ariza. Alongside future NBA players Hassan Adams, Bobby Brown, and Brandon Heath, Ariza helped the Comets to a state title in 2002 and did so again in 2003 despite the team losing five key players to graduation. Thankfully for Ariza & Co., LeBron and St. Vincent-St. Mary didn’t play in California.
Ariza and his uncle trash-talked LeBron, and James responded by scoring 52 points on Ariza.
Ariza was reportedly feeling unappreciated ahead of the St. Vincent-St. Mary vs. Westchester matchup in February 2003, as James was receiving the bulk of the spotlight. Ariza, a 6-foot-8 forward like James, was quoted as saying that LeBron was “overhyped” and that he was the superior player since he had guided his team to the top 10 of the national rankings without as much assistance.
Furthermore, Ariza’s uncle had the following to say:
“I’m not sure why LeBron James receives so much attention. Trevor Ariza, my nephew, is a greater player than he is.”
Trevor Ariza’s uncle made a comparison between him and LeBron James.
But Ariza quickly discovered that all of the hoopla around LeBron James was well-deserved.
On Saturday, February 3, 2003, the two teams played in the Prime Time Shootout in Trenton, New Jersey, and Ariza gave the Comets an early 6-0 lead with a thunderous dunk, after which he mocked LeBron. But after that, it was all James.
James scored 18 points after the first quarter. He had 35 points at halftime. He had 49 points and a 10-point advantage against Westchester after three quarters…on his own. After everything was said and done, LeBron had scorched Ariza for 52 points and led the Cavaliers to a 78-52 win. The Comets were only saved from being outscored by “The King” by a 3-pointer at the buzzer. James made 21 of 34 field goal attempts, including six 3-pointers. After scoring just 12 points in the defeat, Ariza had little option but to praise LeBron, stating, “There was nothing we could do.”
The two are currently teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Trevor Ariza and LeBron James (L-R) | Christian Petersen/Getty Images; Elsa/Getty Images
Due to the fact that both James and Ariza have been in the NBA for almost two decades, they have clearly crossed paths and haven’t always gotten along. However, now that the two are colleagues with the Lakers, all of that will be history. Ariza was one of many veterans signed by the Lakers lately to help support the new “Big 3” of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, as well as Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
From 2007 to 2009, Ariza was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. One has to wonder whether this game will come up in practice when James and Ariza go at it.
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LeBron James is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game. But did you know that one of the teams he used to play for in high school was the Honeybaked High School Falcons? They are a powerhouse of a team, made up of highly skilled players in their junior and senior years.. Read more about los angeles lakers record and let us know what you think.
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