LeBron James may be in his 20th NBA season, but when he needs to, he's still perfectly capable of swinging big games with a few superstar-caliber plays. He did just that on Monday as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4 of their first-round series. Despite struggling offensively for much of the night, James tied the game on an incredible layup with only 0.8 seconds left on the clock, and then in overtime, he made the dagger on a similar layup over Dillon Brooks, the player who has been trash-talking him for two weeks.
James has made a habit lately of saving the Lakers when they need him most. On April 3 against the Utah Jazz, for instance, he won another overtime game with a layup. On such occasions, the Lakers have found a new way to celebrate their legendary teammate. When he enters the locker room, they serenade him with goat noises. They did just that on Monday after James led them to the critical victory.
For the uninitiated, "GOAT" is a frequently used acronym in the basketball lexicon to describe the "greatest of all time." Many consider James to be the greatest basketball player the NBA has ever seen, and his teammates seem to agree with that notion.
The goat noises started last March, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. They were the brainchild of reserve big man Wenyen Gabriel. "I mean, [I] wasn't really playing much," Gabriel told McMenamin earlier in April. "And every time he would he would score or something, I'd be on the bench going, 'Baaa-aaa.'"
Over the past 14 months or so, the rest of the team picked up the habit. Now, it's emblematic of the significantly improved chemistry in the Laker locker room. After winning the NBA championship in 2020, the Lakers lost their first-round series the following year and they missed the playoffs entirely last season. Now, with the possible GOAT leading the way, they're one win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.