Box score shows Jabari Smith Jr's dad did not actually play against LeBron in his first NBA game

Joshua Rogers January 17, 2023
Box score shows Jabari Smith Jr's dad did not actually play against LeBron in his first NBA game
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

After their viral exchange, LeBron James first NBA game box score proves that Jabari Smith Jr’s dad did not technically play LeBron.

The Los Angeles took on the Houston Rockets on Monday night. LeBron James, who is chasing down Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record, finished with a season-high 48 points with five threes, eight rebounds and nine assists.

The 38-year-old helped secure the Lakers a 140-132 home victory as LA remains as the 13th seed out West.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Jabari Smith Jr makes LeBron feel old with revelation

The game represented the first time Houston Rockets rookie Jabari Smith Jr had ever stepped on an NBA court with LeBron James. 

At one point, the pair shared an amusing exchange, as Jabari Smith revealed James played against his dad, Smith Sr, in LeBron’s first ever NBA game.

It was against the Sacramento Kings in 2003, and Jabari said to LeBron: “You played against my dad in your first NBA fame ever.”

Fans share LeBron James first NBA box score – discover Jabari Smith Jr’s dad didn’t technically play

The exchange quickly circulated on social media, however, it isn’t technically true. Jabari Smith Jr’s dad was indeed on that Sacramento Kings team back in 2003 that came up against James’ Cavs. James had 25 points, nine assists, and six rebounds as the Cavaliers lost 106-92.

However, as fans have pointed out, Jabari Smith Sr didn’t play actually in the game. Fans have found the box score to the game, and Smith is a DNP – Did Not Play.

Numerous fans have shared the box score on Twitter pointing out that Smith Sr didn’t actually play against LeBron in his first NBA game:

LeBron spotted with Jabari Smith Sr after the game

While fans found it funny, some did point out that while Smith Sr didn’t play, he was still on the Kings bench.

After the game he can even be seen shaking hands with LeBron. Jabari Smith Sr played in 31 games as a backup center for the Kings in the 2003-04 season, when Jr was just five months old.

He officially played against James the following year as a member of the New Jersey Nets.

The elder Smith was in attendance at the Lakers game last night and a photo with him and LeBron circulated on social media:

After the game, LeBron told reporters he had played against a few father/son duos during his career and this latest one made him feel “old as c***”.

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Joshua is a Senior Sports Writer at GRV Media with over five years of experience in online writing and editing. After receiving a BA (Hons) in Ancient History and an MA in Sports Journalism, he became a writer for a leading social publisher with over 7 million Facebook followers. Joshua then joined Reach PLC, covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online and regional publications like the Liverpool Echo. He then moved to a social media marketing agency and content studio, Brave Bison, acting as Website Editor for The Hook. Joshua now oversees all sports content on The Focus, specializing in NBA, NFL, F1, and tennis, while also keeping a close eye on his beloved Manchester United.