On Wednesday night, LeBron James did his thing against the Spurs for a national TV audience on ESPN. We can offer up opaque language like that because LeBron doing his thing is easy for even a casual fan to parse. More specifically, he scored a game-high 42 points on an incredibly efficient 15-of-24 shooting from the field, including 3-of-7 from deep, one of which came near the logo in Steph territory down the stretch of the 121-112 Lakers win. In all, it was about what you'd expect from perhaps the best player in history, which is something Gregg Popovich noted in typically droll fashion after the game.
If it had been anyone else, the performance would have likely engendered more of an answer from Pop, who isn't someone keen on small talk or the usual bullshit clichés expected of NBA coaches these days. So when Pop was asked what makes LeBron so hard to guard, the reporter should have seen this answer coming.
"Have you watched LeBron play before?" Pop retorts before his sneer turns to a smirk. "He's LeBron James, that's what makes him difficult to guard." The blunt answer provoked silence from the media when Pop followed it up by asking if anyone else had a question.
The moment was even immortalized in the post-game quote sheet teams hand out to media, despite how useless and wasteful of they've become in the technological age
Popovich has seen LeBron's brilliance up close a number of times, particularly in the 2013 and 2014 Finals. It's part of why he called James "very, very special" after Fox News' Laura Ingram infamously said LeBron should "shut up and dribble" for criticizing the buffoon currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That same feeling of respect is reciprocated by LeBron, who calls Popovich the "greatest NBA coach of all time." It's a sentiment not likely shared by the reporter who asked him about LeBron late Wednesday night.