Metta Sandiford-Artest was one of the most feared defensive presences in the NBA during his prime. None of his reputations, however, could affect LeBron James, even when he was a rookie.
Metta Sandiford-Artest has established himself as one of the greatest defenders of all time during his illustrious career. The younger generation usually remembers him for his unforgettable shot during Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
However, his peak arrived during his tumultuous years with the Indiana Pacers, when he was rightly regarded amongst the best players in the league.
Awarded the DPOY award in 2004, he was feared across the league in that season. In fact, the whole Pacers roster played an extremely physical game, with Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson contributing to the group’s “bad boy” image. Facing them sounds extremely intimidating. Especially because we know what transpired during the famous “Malice at the Palace”.
Not for LeBron James, however. Even when he was a rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
18-year old LeBron James had turned to the Pacers bench after draining a shot over Artest, claiming “Is this your DPOY?”
LeBron’s has seemingly been devoid of fear ever since he stepped into the league. The 4-time champ has been cooking opponents left, right, and center since he was selected No. 1 in the 2004 draft. But outdueling Ron Artest seemed to be the ultimate challenge, especially for a lanky high-schooler.
Nothing was impossible for the King, however. Ron Artest revealed in a podcast how he had first met LeBron during the secret workouts held by Michael Jordan before his comeback with the Wizards. LeBron was still holding his own among seasoned vets during their primes.
Artest also remarked that while he was furious over the comment LeBron had made, the rookie had actually got the better of him. And that wasn’t the first time, LeBron would go on to dominate their matchups in the future.
Artest takes pride in one of his defensive efforts against the King, however. LeBron was once held to 0 assists during a remarkable defensive output by the 6’6″ beast. Artest couldn’t help but mention the same during the conversation.
The King is still dominating the field in his 19th year, which gives us an idea of his sheer skill and determination.