Despite being closer to the twilight than his prime, LeBron James is still dominating games for the Los Angeles Lakers in Year 18 of his illustrious career.
James entered the NBA as an elite athlete, but it has been his basketball IQ that has really set him apart from the rest of his peers. The 36-year-old is widely considered to be the best basketball player in the world, and the way he combines physical attributes with his understanding of the game is second to none.
For a basketball savant like James, it is not unusual for him to already know the ins and outs of opponent’s playbooks, and that was apparently the case in the Los Angeles Lakers’ win against the Chicago Bulls.
Bulls rookie forward Patrick Williams mentioned postgame that James was calling out their plays ahead of time, and when asked about it the superstar detailed how he prepared for their matchup.
“I study the teams, I prepare for the teams every day leading up to the game. I watched film on them, I watched the game they had versus Charlotte and then I watched a lot of film this morning,” James said after the Lakers’ latest road win.
“Just try to get accustomed to a lot of the sets they run so I can keep my guys prepared, keep them a little ahead of the play. Just being very knowledgeable about some of the sets they like to run, some of the ATOs, some of the things they like to run in the halfcourt and things of that nature.
“Just to have my guys keeping their head on a swivel and not get surprised by anything.”
Watching film before and after games is a common practice in the league, but James takes it to another level when it comes to his preparation.
Los Angeles held Chicago to only 33 points in the first half and James had a large part in that as he was often seen barking orders and playing excellent individual defense. There was a thought prior to the season that James would take it easy until the playoffs, but that has been the complete opposite as he has appeared in every game to date and played with plenty of effort and energy.
James continues to earn praise from fellow stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, and for good reason given how well he is playing this deep into his career.
LeBron’s longevity nearly unprecedented in NBA history
James is in rare company because there are not many cases of players playing at an elite level at his age. Kareem Adbul-Jabbar is perhaps the only other player in league history that can be compared to James, but the latter is quickly creating separation.
Assuming James continues with his current trajectory, it will be hard not to make the case for him as the greatest of all time.
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