Throughout much of his career, LeBron James has been regarded as the best player in the league. James has continued to play at an elite level well into his 30s that has only further added his legacy as one of the greatest players to play the game. That has earned him tremendous respect from his peers regarding his ability to maintain that high level of play. Among those that include Miami heat star forward Jimmy Butler, who recently had some high praise for the four-time league MVP.
LeBron James is still an ageless wonder
In the months leading into James’ 17th season, there were questions regarding his durability as he had come off the most injury-plagued campaign of his career. It had marked the first time that he failed to reach at least 60 games played in the regular season.
James has put forth an impressive year as he has continued to prove that he still has plenty left in the tank to play at an elite level. The 35-year-old is 10th in the league with 25.4 points, along with being first with a career-high 10.7 assists along with 8.0 rebounds while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor. He’s also just a week removed from earning Western Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging a triple-double.
Beyond that, James has helped guide the Lakers to the best mark in the Western Conference, behind a 31-7 record heading into Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His sustained success has also earned him some major praise from one of his peers.
Jimmy Butler’s ultimate praise for LeBron James
Throughout nearly the last decade, Butler has had the opportunity to go up against James on many occasions.
The Heat star forward recently wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune that listed the toughest players that he has had to guard. Among those was James as he voiced that the Lakers’ All-Star forward is still the best player in the NBA.
He’s still the best all-around player in the league. He literally does everything well. He can shoot. Pass. Attack the rim. Defend. You need a bucket? LeBron’s got you. You need a rebound, a steal or a block? He’s got you. Whatever you need, whenever you need it.
Butler also went on to state that James is one of the most dynamic players that the NBA has ever had, a unique combination of speed, athleticism, strength, and explosiveness. He also believes the 35-year-old can play any position at an elite level.
That isn’t a new stance for Butler as he has had tremendous respect for James over the years. The two have faced off 36 times in their careers, where they have split those matchups evenly.
How much longer can LeBron James be elite?
Like very few before him, James has continued to maintain his stellar level of play through the latter stages of his career.
There isn’t a timeframe for James to retire, but it does beg the question of how much longer he can stay on this path with his performance. He has continued to invest more than $1 million in his body annually with trainers, diet, and workouts. It may just naturally come down to his ability to stay healthy, as that is typically the biggest hurdle for players as they get older.
James has drawn inspiration from the longevity that New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady has shown, so that may be an inkling into him extending his career. He also expressed the desire to one day play with his son Bronny James.
Nonetheless, the fact that he’s still at the top of his game at this point is quite remarkable.