As any basketball fan can confirm, LeBron James is a pretty talented guy. Beyond his pure athletic ability, though, the LA Lakers forward is also pretty durable; 17 years into his NBA career, King James is still going strong. That continued success, though, starts with one simple thing: sleep.
For most of us, sleep isn’t something we really think about; it simply happens at the end of a long day and ends far too quickly. For LeBron James, however, getting a good rest is central to everything he does on the hardwood.
LeBron James has been a star for since high school
These days, LeBron James is simply part of the basketball landscape; it’s almost impossible to imagine the NBA without him involved. Believe it or not, King James has been in the spotlight for nearly 20 years.
James, of course, burst onto the scene at St.Vincent-St. Mary High School. While he showed plenty of potential on the gridiron, his ultimate calling proved to be basketball; before long, ESPN and other outlets descended on Akron, Ohio, making the teenager a household name.
After becoming the first-overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, LeBron’s star continued to rise. While he wasn’t always perfect—just ask Cavs fans about The Decision—King James lived up to the hype. In addition to winning three NBA titles, he’s established himself as a legitimate generational talent; even if you don’t agree with the comparisons, it says something when a player is placed in the same bracket as Michael Jordan.
Even after 17 years in the association, the forward is still going strong. Based on his 2019-20 campaign with the LA Lakers—he’s averaging 25.7 points and a career-high 10.6 assists per game—it’s safe to assume the LeBron James won’t be relinquishing his crown for at least a few more seasons.
Spending some serious cash on self-care
Based on his on-court ability, endorsements, and smart investments, LeBron James has built up quite a fortune during his basketball career. While he puts plenty of that cash toward good causes, he also uses a nice chunk of change taking care of his body.
Although every personal athlete has plenty of trainers and coaches at his or her disposal, King James takes things to another level. In addition to his long-time personal trainer, Mike Mancias, the Lakers star also employs a biomechanist, recovery coach, and masseuses, among other attempts to best maintain his body; he also has his own gym with all the bells and whistles that an athlete could want.
On the whole, LeBron reportedly spends about $1.5 million per year taking care of himself. While that might sound like a sizable investment, James’ performance and career earnings seem to indicate that it’s been well worth it.
Sleep is another key to LeBron James’ success
As anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter can confirm, sleep is the key to both feeling your best and performing well. LeBron James, it seems, understands that better than most.
As documented by CNBC, James has gone on the record about his bedtime beliefs. “[Sleep is] the best way for your body to physically and emotionally be able to recover and get back to 100 percent as possible,” he explained on “The Tim Ferriss Show.” “Now, will you wake up and feel 100 percent? There are some days you don’t. So some days you feel better than others. But the more, and more, and more time that you get those eight [hours of sleep]—if you can get nine, that’s amazing.”
Want to hit the sack in a way befitting King James? His long-time trainer provided some insight into what that entails.
“Without giving everybody all of our secrets, No. 1 is be very, very comfortable in that room,” Mancias said. “Create an environment. For LeBron, it’s always in his hotel room, making sure the temperature’s set at a particular—probably 68 to 70 degrees is probably optimal.” The Lakers star also limits screen-time before bed but does make use of the Calm app to listen to some soothing sounds.
Obviously, LeBron James has a natural advantage in the talent department. Getting a good night’s sleep, though, has helped him remain effective after spending almost two decades in the NBA.
“I could do all the ice bags and the NormaTecs and everything that we do, that we have as far as our recovery package, while I’m up,” he continued. “But when you get in that good sleep, you just wake up, and you feel fresh. You don’t need an alarm clock. You just feel like, ‘Okay. I can tackle this day at the highest level.”
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference