With LeBron James 33-years-old and playing in his 16th NBA season for the Los Angeles Lakers, many have wondered when he will begin to decline.
Basketball critics assumed James’ decline would come during the 2017-18 NBA season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, James had one of his best seasons ever and played all 82 games for the first time in his career.
A quarter into the 2018-19 season, James still has yet to show any real signs of his ability being hindered by age or games.
As James does not appear to be slowing down any time soon, he downplayed the importance of being able to rest during fourth quarters, according to Lakers:
“I played every game last season all the way to the end. I felt great throughout the summer and felt great coming into the season. What is more important is I like getting guys who don’t get as many minutes to get out on the floor. When we are able to do our job and push the lead up then guys like Moe [Wagner] and Svi [Mykhailiuk] can get in there. Big Zu [Ivica Zubac] can get in there and get some minutes. That is what is important. I work my body all year round.”
In his 16th season, James understands he puts in the work required to be able to continue to perform at a high level. Therefore, he does not seem too worried about his body limiting him just yet during the regular season, which was a topic of conversation for Kobe Bryant.
While NBA teams have been known for resting players throughout an 82-game season, the league recently implemented a rule which regulated their ability to rest healthy players. James has yet to sit out any games this season, but it would be hard to imagine the Lakers allowing him to play every game for a second consecutive season.
It is almost unheard of for a player to be performing at this high level in their 16th season or later. Luckily for the Lakers, James will be in Los Angeles for the next four seasons and reiterated his desire to play against his oldest son in an NBA game.