Athletes have always shown signs of decline once they enter the latter stages of their playing career, but LeBron James seems to be the exception to the rule as he is putting together one of his best regular seasons to date during the 2019-20 NBA season.
Even at 35 years old, James is still arguably the best player in the NBA — a feat that is hard to believe given the minutes and wear and tear on his body.
James may have had his best weekend as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers as he led them to two statement wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers — two teams who have a real shot at winning the 2020 NBA Finals like the them.
After the win against the Clippers, James reflected on what it is like for him to be playing so effectively in Year 17, via Lakers:
“I don’t know, that’s for you guys to talk about. For me, I prepare myself — both my body and my mind — to endure anything even at this stage of my career. I know what it takes for me to be prepared mentally and physically to go out and perform at a high level and it’s my responsibility to put this team in a position to be successful.
And they look at me as a leader and it’s my job to not only on the floor get guys opportunities, get them great looks but inspire them as well and show them that I’m not slowing down even at this stage of my career. It’s just a blessing, it’s a blessing to still be doing what I’m doing at this juncture of my career.”
James put on a masterful performance on both ends of the floor against the other Los Angeles team, recording 28 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, and two blocks in 35 minutes of action. He also took on the assignment of guarding Kawhi Leonard on several possessions, forcing him into tough shots or making him get rid of the basketball.
James has been ramping up his case for the 2019-20 NBA Most Valuable Player award and it is fair to say he has closed the perceived gap in the race with Giannis Antetokounmpo after this weekend. He has shown that he is able to lock in when it matters and that he is still the best player on the floor on any given night.
James has put the purple and gold in prime position to chase a championship and they are looking more and more like the favorite to take it all.