In his 17th year in the league, Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James is still playing some of the best basketball of his career. James has shown no decline in his game that has given much reason to believe he has as many productive years ahead of him as he wants due to his commitment to his health and craft. That puts into picture another ageless wonder in another professional sport with New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady, who is still playing well in his 20th year. With that in mind, James recently discussed the impact Brady has had on him.
LeBron James’ 2019-20 campaign
In the months heading into this season, there were lingering questions around James‘ ability at this stage of his career. He was coming off an injury-riddled first year with the Lakers that saw him play in just 55 games, which marked the first time that he suited up for less than 62 games played.
The 35-year-old has put those doubts behind him behind his stellar play on the court that has seen him be the driving force to Los Angeles holding the top mark in the Western Conference. James is currently sitting ninth with 25.3 points along with being first with a career-high and league-best 10.9 assists per contest.
He is also coming off his eighth triple-double of the season, which put him alongside Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant to reach that feat at age 35 or older. There doesn’t appear to be any slowing down from James, and the Patriots quarterback is playing a big inspiration in that regard.
Tom Brady’s impact on LeBron James
Despite being in his 20th season, Brady hasn’t shown any interest in stepping away from the game anytime soon. His play on the field, along with unmatched success at age 42, fuels him to continue his illustrious career well into his 40s.
Earlier this week on his 35th birthday, James voiced that he has kept an eye on Brady’s career, pinpointing his longevity as a source of inspiration to keep going in his respective career, according to Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports.
“I definitely pay attention to what Brady does. How could you not?” James said. “One of the greatest football players ever to walk the face of the earth. He is counted out every year pretty much with people saying you can’t do this or do that. He just tries to continue to put his franchise and their franchise in a position to be successful.”
Like Brady, James has also significantly invested in keeping his body right over the last several years. It’s well-known that the Lakers star spends around $1.5 million annually on his health, workouts, trainers, and diet. In many ways, he has a similar discipline in that regard to Brady, who has made it a point to emphasize that being a crucial part of helping him extend his career into his 40s.
What this also makes clear is Brady’s impact is far-reaching well outside the realm of the NFL, with many others like James drawing inspiration to extend their careers.
How much longer will LeBron James play?
As James ventures further in the backend of his illustrious career, the talk of retirement will eventually grow into a more prominent topic like it has for Brady.
The four-time league MVP has previously expressed interest in playing alongside his son, LeBron James Jr., who is currently a freshman at Sierra Canyon High School. That would require James to play in at least four seasons to potentially have a chance to play against or with his son.
It’s still a few years away, but the opportunity could be there due to his sustained high level of play and disciplined approach to his health and diet. All of that may come down to James’ desire to keep playing at that stage of his career.