LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers completely reshaped everything about their team after failing to make the 2019 NBA playoffs.
While the reasons for the failure were hardly in anyone’s control, it was clear that changes still need to be made.
One of the reasons for the unsuccessful season was James’ groin injury sustained on Christmas Day that held him out for 17 games straight, but one he never truly recovered from for the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season. In fact, when James returned, a rumor began spreading that he was up to 280 pounds and was playing fully out of shape. While this was refuted, there was a sluggishness in his game that many had never seen.
Now, with the Lakers looking completely different and ready to contend, James disclosed that he did lose some weight heading into Year 2, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
The four-time MVP also told Yahoo Sports he trimmed his weight for this season, but he wouldn’t reveal how much he lost.
“You know I’m not telling my weight,” he said.
However much weight James actually lost, it is an important development nonetheless. At the end of last season, he looked more out of shape than he had ever looked in his 16-year career. Losing weight hopefully means a return to the James the Lakers saw before that Christmas Day injury.
In the team’s season-opening loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, James did not look fully like he was back to his usual form. While James made some good plays, he looked like someone who was still getting used to all the new pieces around him, as he struggled to make the plays he’s normally very capable of making.
While there’s no reason to be concerned, it is comforting to know in the meantime there’s no chance James is playing at 280 pounds. With an officially listed height of 6’9,” playing at that weight is too much — even if it’s purely muscle.
James will need some time to get into mental and physical shape as this season rolls along, but he seems to have already begun the physical process.
James will have to monitor his body carefully this season as he is set to turn 35-years-old.