LeBron James is entering Year 20 in the NBA, but his time with the Los Angeles Lakers has given little evidence to believe the 37-year-old will regress anytime soon.
James did miss more games in the last two seasons than he had used to while carrying a heavier burden on his shoulders due to Anthony Davis’ injuries. But when the 18-time All-Star was on the floor, he continued delivering at the highest level — nearly winning the second scoring title of his career after averaging 30.3 points per game in 2021-22.
James’ rigorous work ethic and heavy investment in his well-being have played a major role in preserving the forward’s longevity. But his unbelievable form also comes from the supreme athleticism he has been naturally gifted with. In a get-to-know-me video for the Lakers, Troy Brown Jr. recalled how impressed he was with the four-time champion’s physique when he finally got to play against him in the NBA:
“My favorite player growing up was LeBron. The first thing I remember about playing against LeBron was just like standing next to him and seeing how physically bigger he wasn’t than me. Size-wise, he’s like 6’8” — and I thought I was tall, I thought I was strong. And it was one of those things like nah, this dude has been doing this his whole life. He’s really built like that for sure.”
Brown isn’t the only new Laker whom James left astonished upon first interactions. Last month, rookie Scotty Pippen Jr. describe how the Lakers All-Star’s work ethic has been motivating him to work harder in the gym.
“I think it’s Year 19 or something like that, so just seeing him in the morning, grinding and working, it says a lot about him,” Pippen said.
“It says a lot about why he’s great at what he does and it motivates me to go out there and work harder too.”
Hawks’ Dejounte Murray shows appreciation for James’ mentorship
James has been a great influence also outside of the gym. New Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray told the reports during the team’s Media Day how thankful he is for the future Hall-of-Famer’s guidance — both on and off the floor.
“A great man, a great father, a great leader, a great basketball player,” Murray said of James. “Somebody that took me under his wing around 17 years old. So, you know, I’m always preaching I’m thankful and grateful because I mean that.
“I’m just thankful to have somebody like that in my corner, guiding me off the floor and also on the floor.”
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