May 30, 2023

How Dillon Brooks became an NBA villain

Photo: Memphis Grizzlies/Twitter

Dillon Brooks, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, is one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA today. Known for his aggressive style of play and trash-talking on the court, Brooks has earned a reputation as a villain among fans of opposing teams. But how did he become such a divisive figure in the league?

Brooks’ journey to the NBA began in Canada, where he was born and raised. He played college basketball at the University of Oregon, where he quickly emerged as one of the team’s top players. In his junior year, he led the Ducks to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, averaging 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. He declared for the NBA draft after that season and was selected by the Grizzlies in the second round.

From the beginning, Brooks showed a willingness to get under the skin of his opponents. He was known for his physical defense and his tendency to talk trash on the court. This didn’t endear him to fans of opposing teams, but it did make him a fan favorite in Memphis.

However, it wasn’t until the 2020 NBA playoffs that Brooks truly became a villain in the eyes of many fans. In the first round of the playoffs, the Grizzlies faced off against the top-seeded Utah Jazz. Brooks was tasked with guarding Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz’s star shooting guard. Mitchell had missed the last few games of the regular season with an ankle injury, but he was expected to be back at full strength for the playoffs.

Brooks took it upon himself to make sure that Mitchell didn’t have an easy time on the court. He played physical defense, got in Mitchell’s face, and talked trash throughout the series. Mitchell, who is known for his calm demeanor, seemed to be rattled by Brooks’ antics. He responded with some trash talk of his own, but it was clear that he wasn’t enjoying the extra attention.

Despite Brooks’ efforts, the Grizzlies lost the series in five games. But Brooks had made a name for himself as a player who wasn’t afraid to get in the face of the opposition’s best player. He had also earned the ire of Jazz fans, who saw him as a dirty player who crossed the line with his physical play.

Brooks’ reputation as a villain only grew during the 2020-21 NBA season. He continued to play physical defense and talk trash on the court, and he seemed to relish the attention that came with being a polarizing figure. He got into altercations with several players, including Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards and Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

Despite the criticism, Brooks has continued to play with the same intensity and aggression that has made him a villain in the NBA. He remains a key player for the Grizzlies, and his trash-talking and physical play have helped the team to several important victories. While some fans may not like his style of play, there’s no denying that Brooks is one of the most exciting and dynamic players in the league today.

Brooks’ latest incident in the playoffs against the Lakers only added to his reputation as a controversial player. In Game 3 of the first round series, Brooks hit LeBron James in the groin and was ejected from the game. After the game, Brooks was asked about his reputation as a villain in the league.

“I’ve been dealing with this two years now. It is what it is. The fans could shit whatever they want to. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ma keep playing my game, get better and better each and every day as long as my career goes,” Brooks said.

When asked to clarify what he meant by “dealing with this,” Brooks explained, “The media making me a villain, the fans making me a villain and then that just creates a whole different persona on me.”

Brooks’ willingness to play physical defense and talk trash on the court has earned him both fans and detractors. While some appreciate his intensity and competitive spirit, others see him as a dirty player who crosses the line with his aggressive play. But regardless of how he is perceived by fans and the media, Brooks remains focused on improving his game and helping the Grizzlies to win.

“I’m not worried about what people say about me,” Brooks said. “I’m just focused on getting better and helping my team win games. That’s all that matters to me.”