OKC Thunder: LeBron James shares humorous Darius Bazley story

Darius Bazley #7 of the OKC Thunder defends against Rajon Rondo #9 of the Lakers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Darius Bazley #7 of the OKC Thunder defends against Rajon Rondo #9 of the Lakers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder forward Darius Bazley is connected to LeBron James via Rich Paul. The superstar shared a humorous story about the rookie this weekend.

When the OKC Thunder drafted Darius Bazley as their rookie this past season little was known about the youngster. He forewent attending college electing to take an internship at New Balance while undertaking his workout sessions with his own training team.

How much of that decision was the Thunder forwards or how much influence his agent Rich Paul had is unknown but certainly, Paul figured in the deal.

Through the early point of his rookie season, Thunder Nation has experienced glimpses of the youngster’s potential. At this point, it’s impossible to figure out a true ceiling for his potential based on his age and role.

Just as he started to show some progress particularly on the offensive side of the court he came up lame injuring his knee. Medical updates stated the forward suffered a bone bruise. The resulting effect is Bazley will miss between four and six weeks with a likely return date somewhere near the end of the month.

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Through 53 games this season Bazley has started on eight occasions. His per game averages are 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.7 blocks and a mediocre 30.0 percent from the perimeter.

Dissecting the season his averages through the first 20 games were 4.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and a healthier 36.8 perimeter percentage.  Through the next 20 games, there was slight regression which is understandable given most rookies hit the wall during this phase of the schedule.

Factor in the Thunder was playing almost every other day to the mix. Although Bazley’s points and rebounds dipped (3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds) it was his perimeter shooting which experienced the biggest drop: 27.7 percent.

That regression continued in the next schedule segment of 13 games prior to his injury (20.0 percent). His overall stats were improving with points moving up to 5.9 and rebounds holding steady (3.8). What was evident is Bazley was beginning to figure out his offense in terms of when to drive, take sharp cuts or shoot. Bazley will continue to grow with time and more experience especially once the game slows down for him.

Typically players in their third seasons mention the game slowing down or as they approach their mid 20’s. In that regard, Bazley has plenty of time. It seems unfathomable he’s only 19 years old and won’t turn 20 until mid-June (12th).

To that end, LeBron James shared a story on the weekend regarding Bazley. One in which both he and his wife were reminded of their age.

Since this past week featured games against the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and Grizzlies’ Ja Morant he was asked by a reporter if he ever thinks about the fact these players are closer to his son’s age than his.


James shared that Darius Garland, Darius Bazley and other young stars were all over at his house this summer playing ball and video games with his sons.

LeBron said “Thank you Auntie Savannah” on their way out the door as a sign of respect but noted his wife wasn’t thrilled by the implication of her being older.

Although LeBron made the joke the funnier takeaway here might be James himself stating “she’s been 21 for the last 20 years. Umm — fair warning to LeBron James but ladies don’t like to discuss their ages and you just told the world how old your wife is. (I jest — but not really 😉).

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Bazley continues to mend from his bone bruise and is projected to return to the hardwood by the end of March.