Besides the thinning hair on the back of LeBron James’ head, very few signs indicate Father Time is catching up with the Los Angeles Lakers’ All-Star — who turned 37 on Thursday.
James has been in exceptional form lately, stepping up in the absence of Anthony Davis and many other teammates. The 19-year veteran scores 28.0 points per game, the most since the 2009-10 season. He also clocks in 37.2 minutes a night, his highest average in five years.
But James understands he is slowly approaching his retirement.
“I know I’m on the other side of the hill, compared to the hill I was on before. I know that,” he said after the 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets.
“But, I mean, I’ve thought about it, where I’m at with it. I’m still playing at such a high level, I haven’t given it too much thought. But I’m in Year 19 and I’m not gonna do another 19.
“I’m on the other side of the hill. So, we’ll see where the game takes me. We’ll see where my body takes me and my mind. As long as my mind stays fresh and my body stays with that, I can play the game. But, in the end, the game will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your mind will tell you. I’ve put in enough hours and punched enough clocks where when that time comes, I’ll be okay with it.”
James said he hasn’t studied how former NBA stars dealt with the effects of aging in later parts of their careers. Even though he’s “always saluted the guys that set the stones for us to be here today,” the forward credited his passion for basketball with allowing his fine form to continue even in his late 30s.
“I’ve always had my own path and my own determination and my own grind,” James said on the eve of his 37th birthday.
“I literally put in the work every day, either from a physical or mental or spiritual part. The game is always running through my veins and I’m thinking about ways I can continue to improve my game throughout the later stage of my career. That’s what it’s about.”
James explains late turnover in loss to Grizzlies
With just seconds left in Wednesday’s clash against the Grizzlies, James had the ball in his hands on a potentially game-tying possession. However, he sent it out of bounds while trying to pass it to Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers’ superstar explained he misread Westbrook’s intentions during the play, leading to the key turnover.
“Yeah, looked like Russ was gonna go back door at one point, then he backed back out, and I was already in the air,” James said.
“I had slipped before on my drive, which kind of threw my rhythm off.”
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