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After Dropping 39 Points Against Team USA, Dillon Brooks Compares His “Villain Persona” to Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality”

Published 09/10/2023, 11:51 AM EDT

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In the world of professional sports, athletes sometimes create unique identities on and off the floor. Some want to play the hero, while others prefer to play the villain. Dillon Brooks, a budding NBA star, has mastered the role of the adversary throughout his career, attracting yells and jeers from opposition fans. But something unusual happened in Manila during the FIBA World Cup.

When they asked Brooks about his gameplay and shift in mentality, his answer had all the fans mesmerized.

Channeled the power of hate for achievements

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Dillon Brooks, known for his tough defense and clutch plays, has always flourished on the court as a player who excelled in playing the villain. Brooks relished the role of the guy fans despise, whether it was getting under the skin of celebrity opponents or hitting game-winning shots. Due to this, he earned a reputation as a ferocious competitor and an aggressive trash-talker. That earned him the hatred of opposition fans, particularly those who supported the Lakers, Brooks’ team’s long-time nemesis.

The enthusiastic Filipino audience booed Dillon Brooks when he came to the Philippines to represent Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Brooks had earned the scorn of Lakers fans in the Philippines as a player of the Memphis Grizzlies. The booing was predictable, but what happened next was unexpected. Something extraordinary began to happen as the FIBA World Cup games progressed. Dillon Brooks displayed outstanding basketball abilities, making three-pointers with accuracy and playing tough defense. Fans who had earlier mocked him now could not comment on his extraordinary abilities.

Dillon Brooks made tournament history by scoring a tournament-record 39 points in the medal-winning game against the United States. This astounding performance garnered him MVP chants as he proudly put the bronze medal around his neck. In the post-match interview, they asked Brooks about his villainous attitude.

He said, “It’s just a persona. People love it. I’ve grown to love it myself. It’s like Kobe Bryant, how he had to figure it out and create a Black Mamba, becoming a different persona when he goes on the court. I guess that’s my persona. The villain.” 

Brooks’ outstanding performance at the FIBA World Cup

Dillon Brooks’ FIBA World Cup performance was nothing short of remarkable. Brooks constantly demonstrated his elite abilities when they were most required, most notably in pivotal games such as the do-or-die battle versus Spain. His 22-point effort in the game, which included clutch shots and important defensive stops, powered Canada to victory.

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USA Today via Reuters

Brooks put up impressive numbers throughout the season, averaging 22.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in the last four games. His superb shooting stood out, with an astonishing 66.7% accuracy from beyond the arc, making him a formidable three-point threat. Throughout the tournament, he shot an incredible 60% on two-point shots and an astounding 58.8% from behind the arc.

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Dillon Brooks’ transformation from villain to MVP at the FIBA World Cup exemplifies the power of skill, hard effort, and the ability to win over all of his harsh critics. He demonstrated that even the most divisive characters can become cherished heroes on the international stage as he continues to grow as a player and as a person.

Watch this Story: Luka Doncic Ejected! Blowing the Goodbye Kisses, Dillon Brooks ‘Annoys’ Slovenia Into a FIBA World Cup Exit

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Written by:

Dhruv Shastry

720Articles

One take at a time

Dhruv is an NBA writer at ES with years of playing experience to name. Despite the ankle injury barring him from playing further, he never lost touch with the sport. He loves the swag and the attitude basketball players possess.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja