NBA

Brooks claims media painted him as 'villain' leading to ejection

By Sports Desk April 23, 2023

Memphis Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks accused the media of painting him as a "villain", leading to the decision to eject him for a flagrant 2 foul in Saturday's 111-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brooks was kicked from the game early in the third quarter after his left hand struck LeBron James' groin. The incident came following trash talk from Brooks directed at James, who he called "old" after Game 2.

The Grizzlies forward, who dodged reporters after Saturday's game, claimed the incident was an accident when he spoke on Sunday, before claiming his reputation had been affected by the media's portrayal of him, factoring into the officials' decision to eject him from Game 3.

"The media making me a villain, the fans making me a villain and then that just creates a whole different persona on me," said Brooks, who has been ejected from games three times this season.

"So now you think I intended to hit LeBron James in the nuts. I'm playing basketball. I'm a basketball player.

"So if I intended – and that's whatever is in the flagrant 2 category – if you think I did that, that means you think I'm that type of person.

"I've been dealing with this [for] two years now. It is what it is. The fans can talk s***, whatever they want to. It doesn't matter to me.

"I'm going to keep playing my game and get better and better each and every day and as long as my career goes."

It has been widely reported that Brooks will be free to play in Game 4, avoiding any suspension for the flagrant 2 foul.

"I knew I wasn't going to be [suspended]," Brooks said. "They can't dictate this series like that.

"[Referee] Marc [Davis] probably had to call that 'cause of what happened [in Game 3] with James Harden, and that's just unfair. I get penalised, and I can't help my team try to make a comeback in the second half."

James got the last laugh against the Grizzlies in Saturday's game, having refused to be drawn into Brooks' narrative in the lead-up, scoring 25 points with nine rebounds in the Lakers' win.

Despite that, Brooks did not regret his provocation, or "poking bears" as he called it.

"Am I saying anything that's not facts?" Brooks said.

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