LeBron James is entering the 17th season of a no-doubt Hall of Fame career — and second season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
At almost 35-years-old, critics have begun to question when Father Time will take its toll on James at this stage of his career.
These questions were really sparked last season when James suffered the worst injury of his career on Christmas Day: a strained groin that kept him out 17 consecutive games and likely should have been more. When this happened, many thought James was finally on a decline after what felt like an unsustainable run of success without signs of slowing down.
Unlike the 2018-19 NBA season, the Lakers built an extremely strong roster with Anthony Davis and depth that goes beyond James. This was likely in an effort to be able to preserve him for the playoffs without needing him to play an 82-game season to get there.
However, James feels he isn’t the type of person to need that load management style of basketball.
“It sounds good. I saw a stat earlier today that said that I don’t know… I have like 7,000 more miles than Vince Carter or something … He did go off for 14 in the second quarter today, I saw that too. He’s out of his mind,” James said of the ageless wonder Vince Carter.
“I mean, I was born to have a workload and it is who I am — both on and off the floor.”
James has never shied away from doing what he needs to do to be successful. In the 2017-18 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James played all 82 games to lift a struggling roster that underwent several complete overhauls into the playoffs. There, he continued his dominance and brought a truly lackluster team to the 2018 NBA finals.
Year 2 is much different than his first in Los Angeles. He has Davis, who is arguably the best teammate James has ever had which means if he needs to take a game off, he has a 26-year-old All-Star player ready to take over.
In addition, the Lakers have depth at almost every position. JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard have been excellent anchors down low early in the preseason while Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, and Troy Daniels have done damage from the guard spots. Not to mention Kyle Kuzma is still yet to return from injury.
The Lakers should be a ton of fun this season and it seems James is ready to tackle any workload challenge he’s faced with.