Odell Beckham Jr.'s eyes grew large and he tried to suppress a wide smile a few weeks ago when, after making his now-famous catch, he was told that LeBron James was among those who had extolled its glory on social media.
On Wednesday night, Beckham moved up in the world. He went from tweeting with James to eating with him. The two athletes got together in Manhattan for dinner as James and the Cavaliers were in town for Thursday night's game against the Knicks.
"That's my favorite athlete,'' Beckham said Thursday, seemingly still star-struck by the experience. "To be able to meet him and be able to talk to him and be able to share some words, it was a good time. It was very surreal to be able to meet LeBron, period.''
The meeting came together through James' marketers, but apparently it was initiated by James. He wanted to see the kid who made the one-handed catch against the Cowboys on Nov. 23.
"He was talking about the play,'' said Beckham, who attended the Knicks-Cavaliers game. "He wanted to see how big my hands were. For that to be my favorite athlete ever and sit down, civilized people, and just have dinner and conversation, it was nice.''
And? The hands?
"About the same [size],'' Beckham said. "His thumb may be bigger than mine.''
James spoke about the meal -- and the catch -- at Thursday's shootaround at the Garden.
"It was just casual,'' he said. "I gave the kid a chance to let him pick my brain a little bit. More than anything, it was about how he approaches being a professional, on and off the field, and let everything else take care of itself. The talent is there. You can see that. I think he's a great kid. That's my first impression.''
James, who played wide receiver in high school, was asked if he ever made a catch like the one Beckham made.
"Not like that,'' he said. "I had a couple of one-handed touchdown catches, but not to that caliber. Like I said, that was probably one of the greatest catches I've ever seen.''
Beckham said James would have been able to make the same one-handed catch he did.
"It's LeBron,'' he said. "He can do it all.''
Beckham may have made the play of the year, but doing more than that earned him another honor. The Giants' first-round pick was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for November after leading all players, not just rookies, with 118.6 receiving yards per game and becoming the first rookie with at least 90 receiving yards in five games in a single month.
Asked which was a bigger deal, that honor or dinner with James, Beckham did not hesitate.
"Probably dinner,'' he said.
Beckham doesn't have to choose these days. It's all coming at him quickly, the recognition and the spoils.
"It's everything I ever dreamed of, really,'' he said. "All those days you go in to work and you're putting in work, it's for moments like this. I definitely take it for what it is and keep progressing every day.''
Beckham said he decided to follow a football path rather than one in basketball because of the commitments required to be recruited in that sport with its various camps and events. Given his athleticism, he might have been able to make a career on the hardwood.
"I've got a nice little shot,'' he said.
Nice enough to go up against James one-on-one?
"Any day,'' he said. "Football, basketball, it doesn't matter what it is.''
They started with dinner.
With Jim Baumbach