“Obviously I built a big-time ego and a comfort level like you made it and you arrived,” Mayo told Mac Engel of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram. “There is so much more to prove, ways to get better. There is a long way to get better. You don’t get into the Hall of Fame with a heck of a high school career.”
Mayo came into the NBA as a player who was hailed as “The Next Coming” of various NBA superstars, most notably LeBron James. Those who understand basketball understand the hype machine that comes with it: OJ played varsity basketball in Ohio for a few seasons and, as such, was compared to LBJ for the overflowing crowds and excitement that he brought with him into high school gyms.
Was Mayo extremely talented back then? Of course.
Was he the next LeBron? Certainly not.
After averaging 18 points on 15 shot attempts in 38 minutes per game during his first two seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008-10, Mayo’s numbers decreased to 12 points on 10.9 shots in 26 minutes per game. The harsh reality that Mayo wasn’t going to be a go-to player in Memphis with Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley in town. Mayo was supposed to be an off-the-bench role player who would provide timely scoring and playmaking for the Grizzlies to win games. By July, the Grizzlies were ready to say goodbye.