No matter where you stand in the debate over whether LeBron James or Michael Jordan is the superior player, one fact is unquestioned is James may be the most durable athlete of all-time.
James, now entering his 16th season at age 33, is coming off of probably his best campaign yet. He played in all 82 games for the first time in his career and averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists.
However, now that James has joined a still-growing Los Angeles Lakers team in a loaded Western Conference, questions about his durability moving forward have begun to spark. This is due to the fact that some pundits believe because the Lakers did not sign a second star, this season is going to be a wasted year of having a prime James.
Head coach Luke Walton, as well as James himself, have repeatedly refuted the notion. But people nonetheless have questioned how many more years James has at a high level.
Of course, his play suggests that there’s absolutely no reason to worry. And that’s the sentiment Walton shared, as he believes that the way James takes care of his body, as well as his on play, should allow him to remain at an elite level through the entirety of his four-year contract, via ESPN L.A. Radio:
“I think he will. If you see how he takes care of himself, it’s incredible. I mean, before he practices, after he practices, there’s no wasted time. It’s on the foam roller, it’s in the weight room, his guy stretching him before and after, it’s ice baths. everything you can do to take care of your body, he does it, and he does it every single day.”
It’s no secret that James has always taken great care of his body, so it’s not beyond reason to believe he actually could still be playing at an MVP level at age 37. Walton also intends to closely monitor James’ minutes and games for rest.
Furthermore, the Lakers have put together a roster that aims to alleviate pressure on him. The amount of primary ball-handlers present, namely James, Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, will take the load off of James a little bit and allow him to play off ball more.
Statistically speaking, the Lakers could be one of the best passing teams in NBA history. It’s the first time three players on the same team (Ball, James, and Rondo) each were in the top 10 in assists the season prior.
With the pressure for James to constantly have the ball will seemingly diminished, the likelihood he plays at a high level until 37 should increase significantly.