Throughout his first 16-plus years in the league, star forward LeBron James has continued to remain among being one of the top players in the league. James hadn’t shown any notable decline in his game as he’s still a franchise-changing talent that had guided the Los Angeles Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference before the 2019-20 season was suspended. His performance on the court was one of the driving forces to potentially putting the Lakers in championship contention. It has also made something else quite clear to Hall of Famer Jason Kidd about why he believes James could play into his 40s.
LeBron James’ 2019-20 season
James entered this season with questions concerning his healthy after the first injury-riddled campaign of his career. He has more than answered the bell with an impressive campaign that has re-established the Lakers as a powerhouse.
The 35-year-old was putting together an MVP-type year before the season was suspended as he was averaging 25.7 points along with a career-high and league-best 10.6 assists and 7.8 rebounds per contest. He is currently the league leader in double-digit assist games and triple-doubles this year that has helped him earn Back-to-Back Western Conference Player of the Month for January and February.
His performance on the court in his 17th season is also promising for what he has in store beyond this year, as he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. That said, there is one aspect of James’ ability on the court that Kidd believes will allow him to play until he’s 40.
Jason Kidd believes LeBron James can play into his 40s
One of the most vital parts of James’ skillset has been his feel and IQ for the game of basketball.
It has played a massive part in helping him become an all-around factor on the floor that includes being considered one of the greatest passers that the league has seen. According to Melissa Rohin of Sports Illustrated, Hall of Famer and Lakers’ assistant coach Jason Kidd believes it’s that skill James has will help him play until 40.
“It’s going to help him play until he’s 40,” Kidd said. “…His IQ is always going to help him because he’s going to be able to take less steps, right? Instead of running a six-mile race, he can run a five-mile race just because of his IQ.”
That is often the part of the game that many older players rely on to help them play more efficiently. As his physical ability natural declines, it will put more importance on him making the right play when it’s there to continue to remain effective on the court.
James is still able to perform at an elite level physically with the best of them, but there could be a time in the next few years that he won’t have the same lift or physical presence on the floor. What it points to is he’s built mentally to play the game as long as he wants.
How Much longer will LeBron James play?
As James ventures through his 17th season, the question of retirement will become more prominent as he’s edging closer to two decades played in the NBA.
There hasn’t been any indication from him that he’s even considering going that route. James made that quite clear that November as he voiced that he has the same mindset that Tom Brady has toward his respective profession, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group.
“Not really. Not the way I feel right now,” he said. “Me and Tom Brady are one in the same: We’re gonna play until we can’t walk no more.”
Much of this could be tied with his desire to play with his son, LeBron James Jr., but it looks like the four-time league MVP isn’t going to step from the game anytime soon.