Months Before Touching “Mamba Mentality” Tribute at US Open, Novak Djokovic Praised LeBron James’ Bold Words Before Smashing NBA Record: “…Arrogant or Pretentious”

Published 09/11/2023, 1:58 PM EDT

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In professional sports, confidence is the defining trait of champions. It’s that unwavering self-belief that propels them to achieve the extraordinary. Great athletes always take inspiration from other athletes and Novak Djokovic recently has been taking some from the NBA greats. 

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LeBron declared himself as the best basketball player before breaking the all-time record. Novak could relate to that right before he clinched a record for himself while also openly declaring his win and crediting it to Mamba Mentality. 

Novak can relate to LeBron’s bold words 

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In February, James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. Just before breaking that record, LeBron admitted that he felt like he was the “best basketball player that ever played the game”. He continued by dominantly asserting, That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table.” The rest is history and he is still at the top of the league, ready to enter his 21st season. 

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Novak said he could relate to this mentality. It’s not just about the mere arrogance but the sheer dominance in the game. He said, “I don’t see anything wrong in that. And I congratulate LeBron for his historic achievement. He absolutely deserves it because at this age, he works as hard as anybody really out there. And that’s a great role model and a great example to all the young guys.”. 

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Novak unleashed ‘mamba mentality’ in his historic win

Djokovic went on to win his 21st Grand Slam title at the French Open in June, tying Rafael Nadal for the most in men’s history. And at the US Open in September, he paid tribute and channeled Bryant‘s “Mamba Mentality” to win his 22nd Grand Slam title, breaking Nadal’s record. The number 24 was Bryant’s jersey number for most of his career, and it is also the number of Grand Slam titles Djokovic won at the time. On the front of his T-shirt “Mamba Forever” printed on it. 

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Kobe Bryant Admitted That He And LeBron James Agreed On What Makes The “Killer Mentality”

This self-belief in Bron and Mamba is something that Djokovic himself can relate to. In his own words, he declares,  “Yes, I can relate to that because I believe that what worked for me and still works for me is that self-belief and confidence level, And I don’t think there’s anything arrogant or pretentious about it“.

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Written by:

Chetan Kumar

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Chetan is an NBA content writer at Essentially Sports. Being an active basketball player since his school days, he has always been a dedicated follower of the NBA. His passion for the game has drove him to pursue a career in sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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