LA Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James is 36, but he’s still dominating the NBA and the league’s best player. Besides having more titles and Finals MVPs under his belt, not much has changed for LeBron over the last 10 years of his career.
When he was 26 and playing for the Miami Heat, James was the most athletic player in the NBA and a freight train in the open court. Fast forward to today, and the four-time MVP is still doing the jaw-dropping things he was doing back in the day. It’s a testament to how diligent LeBron is with his body and diet.
Many believe James can channel his inner Tom Brady and play into his 40s. While The King loves basketball, an important person in his life isn’t going to let it happen.
LeBron James has already defeated father time
LeBron James has averaged at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 15 different seasons. The next most such seasons is eight by the legendary Oscar Robertson. We have never seen a player play at a high level for as long as LeBron has.
Pundits were certain that James would slow down toward the end of his decorated career due to his diminishing athleticism and all the wear and tear on his body. However, the 16-time All-Star isn’t showing any signs of decline. He led the NBA in assists per game during his 17th season and guided the Lakers to the 2020 championship over the Heat.
In his 18th season, LeBron is averaging 24.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists. He’s playing the fewest minutes of his career and is still putting up legendary numbers for the Lakers, who are once again atop the Western Conference standings.
Some people believe that James can play another 10 years in the NBA. While that may be true, LeBron says it’s not going to happen since one of the most important people in his life wouldn’t be happy with it.
LeBron James’ wife wouldn’t be pleased with him playing at 46 years old
LeBron James says his wife, Savannah James, likely wouldn’t be happy if he’s still playing in the NBA at 46 years old. The Chosen One has been in the league since 2003. James was only 19 when he made his NBA debut during the 2003-04 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I continue to put myself in the best condition I can be in. I train my body and I train my mind every single day,” James told reporters. “I come into the arena or the facility and I get in a lot of extra work. And hopefully, I can continue to do what I’m doing right now at 36 and see what happens. But I tell you, I don’t think I can go to 46. We can go from 26 to 36, but I don’t think I can go to 46, and I also don’t think my wife would like that.”
Before the 2020-21 season, LeBron signed a two-year, $85 million extension with the Lakers. The former No. 1 overall pick, assuming he doesn’t sign another extension with LA, will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason of 2023.
LeBron haters waiting for LBJ to retire after the 2022-23 season shouldn’t get their hopes up. While James says he’s not going to play into his late 40s because of his wife, he has talked about possibly playing a few seasons in the NBA with his eldest son, Bronny James.
King James and Bronny could play in the NBA together during the 2023-24 season
LeBron James’ eldest son, Bronny James, is a sophomore at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California. If–and it’s a big if–the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement gets amended to allow players to be drafted straight out of high school, LeBron and Bronny could play in the NBA together during the 2023-24 season.
After signing his $85 million extension with the Lakers, LeBron talked about how happy he was that his new contract lined up with Bronny’s timeline.
“The best thing about it is the year I’ll be a free agent will be the same year my oldest son graduates high school,” LeBron James said, via ESPN. “So I’ll have some options to see, for me personally, what I want to do forward, being around my family, being around my son more or continue to play this game I love with great health and great spirits. We’ll see.”
It would be a special sight to see LeBron and Bronny James share the court in the NBA. Only time will tell if it happens.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.