Bennedict Mathurin sparks rivalry with Jaden Ivey during Rising Stars game

Indiana Pacers wing Bennedict Mathurin went at it with Jaden Ivey in the Rising Stars Game.

Feb 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Team Tamika guard Jaden Ivey (23) of the Detroit Pistons
Feb 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Team Tamika guard Jaden Ivey (23) of the Detroit Pistons / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Bennedict Mathurin is currently the talk of the town after the first day of All-Star Weekend 2024 after his performance in the Rising Stars game. From deep threes to missed dunks, to spectacular assists, to crippling dept due to missed free throws, Mathurin did it all.

His performance in the Rising Stars game on the first day of All-Star Weekend 2024Chief among those things he accomplished was starting, or perhaps re-igniting some beef. To further elaborate, we need to rewind a bit.

Bennedict Mathurin and Jaden Ivey's careers started on the same night. Both were picked in the 2022 NBA Draft; Ivey was taken 5th overall by the Detroit Pistons, while Mathurin was selected with the very next pic, going 6th to the Indiana Pacers.

Ever since then, they have occasionally been compared to each other, with Mathurin notably listing every player picked before him, including Ivey, and even scoring 30 points on Ivey's Pistons in December of 2023.

However, with Mathurin on the ascending Indiana Pacers and Ivey on the cellar-dwelling Pistons, there has not been much competitive basketball played between the two teams. That was, until Friday.

In the very first game of the Rising Stars Challenge, Team Jalen Rose faced off against Team Tamika Catchings. While Team Rose would win this game 40-35, and Mathurin had himself a game with 18 points, he and Ivey certainly raised some eyebrows with their behavior towards one another.

It took a while for them to get into it, but with Team Jalen up 32-26, the trash talk began. Mathurin, who at the time stood at 11 points, started prodding at Ivey, stating that he could not guard him, even in the Rising Stars game.

Shortly after, Ivey's enthusiastic reaction turned into one of annoyance as he took several tries to fully hear Mathurin's words but changed his tone completely when it was clear what he was saying.

Mathurin would proceed to completely back up this claim, as the very next score from Team Jalen was a filthy size-up into a contested three with Ivey's hand right in his face, followed by more trash talk from Indiana's own.

Despite missing two straight free throws at the end of the game and losing $25K to Paolo Banchero. As a result, Mathurin eventually put the dagger in Team Tamika's hearts with a tightly contested fadeaway to finish the game with 18 points and advanced to the finals, which Team Jalen would also win, with Mathurin also taking home the Rising Stars MVP.

Later on, when asked about the interaction with Ivey, Mathurin complimented the young guard, stating that he loves playing against him and he always finds a challenge in beating the players drafted ahead of him. Mathurin expressed tremendous respect for the youngster, stating that Ivey is a great guy and has a great career ahead of him, even stating that he loves him in a certain way.

Perhaps this semi-personal beef is also partially fueled by the fact that Mathurin probably knows plenty of Pacers fans wanted to take Ivey over him on draft night, perhaps not. One thing's for sure: I do not think these two particularly care for each other. Ivey is one of those players, and perhaps extra special since he was drafted directly before Mathurin with pick five.

As someone who publicly called out LeBron James before playing a single NBA game, Mathurin is always one for competition, and he strives to beat the players drafted before him whenever he gets the chance. Ivey is one of those players, and perhaps extra special since he was drafted directly before Mathurin with pick five.

For what it's worth, Mathurin reiterated after the Friday festivities that his jabs towards Ivey were all in good fun and purely in the spirit of competition.

Phoenix Suns superstar Devin Booker even chimed in on social media, expressing his love and admiration for the two competitors in his own way.

Fortunately, we will not have to wait long to see where this 'rivalry' goes next. Indiana's very first game following the All-Star break is against the Pistons on December 22roughly in Indiana, and we can certainly expect to see Mathurin and Ivey match up plenty, considering they play rougly the same position.

Until then, we can do nothing but speculate and closely examine clips from a recreational All-Star event, analyzing a potential rivalry between two second-year players who are both fantastic in their own right.

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Bennedict Mathurin and Jaden Ivey's quarrel in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge underscores a bigger portion of NBA history than is the eternal flame of the Pacers vs. Pistons rivalry.