Despite the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles in 2021-22, LeBron James put on a show in his 19th year in the NBA — proving he still has plenty of gas in the tank at the age of 37.
Fans of other teams have been foretelling James’ decline since the four-time NBA champion entered his late 30s. And while the 18-time All-Star has been grappling with injuries more than he did earlier in his career, he’s shown no signs of slowing down when on the court.
James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists last season, shooting 35.9% from beyond the arc — doing so while spending a big chunk of the season as L.A.’s starting center. And the Lakers forward’s dominance isn’t going to wane anytime soon, Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul said on JJ Redick’s “The Old Man & The Three” podcast:
“I’m not surprised by it because I know how he trains,” Paul said. “I know his discipline. All that stuff you’re seeing, it ain’t going away anytime soon. Everybody can stop. … “Once you find something that works, and you know that getting a little older or whatnot, it doesn’t matter. Bron ain’t slowing down no time soon, so everybody be cool.”
Last season, James nearly won the second scoring title of his career. But as he struggled with an ankle injury down the stretch, Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid beat him to the honor.
The Lakers star seemingly remains confident in his abilities as — before James extended his contract with L.A. — he reportedly told vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka he wants to win another championship ring in the near future.
Darvin Ham calls James ‘once in a lifetime player’
New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has been elated by the opportunity to work with James — whom he considers one of the greatest to have ever played basketball.
“LeBron is once-in-a-lifetime player,” Ham said.
“You only get so many, players. Not even so many. You have Bill Russell, you have Wilt Chamberlain, you have Dr. J, you have Moses Malone, you had Larry Bird, Magic [Johnson], you had [Michael] Jordan, you had Allen Iverson, Shaq [O’Neal], Kobe [Bryant], and now it’s LeBron’s time.”