Lebron James Still Plays for the NBA at 37


Erik Drost

Image of LeBron James utilized under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Noah Scherson, Staff Writer

LeBron James has hit the ripe old age of 37 and is in the midst of his 19th season. Little do athletes in almost any sport, let alone a sport as physical as basketball, play until that age. If the longevity of his career isn’t impressive enough, then consider that he is still the 41 all-star vote recipient this season and has improved his stats from previous years. 

James was drafted with the first overall pick straight out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in the draft class of 2003 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was accompanied by Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony; Bosch being in the Hall of Fame while Wade and Anthony are expected to be future Hall of Fame inductees. In his rookie season, he was awarded the Rookie of The Year award and didn’t let off the gas.

In the 18 seasons following that James has been a four-time MVP, four-time finals MVP, been on the All-NBA team 17 times and a slew of records, such as most all-time playoff points, wins, steals, and turnovers over his 15 visits to the playoffs. James is also a four-time world champion having two with Miami and one with Los Angeles and another with Cleveland. 

All these accolades and achievements sound great, but how is James doing now that his knees should have more arthritis than a retired cross country runner? He is doing amazing, to say the least. 

James is averaging more points per game than any season he has played since 2009. He is also averaging a higher three-point percentage than his days in Miami. Moreover, James is above his career average for points, rebounds and overall field goal percentage. 

I’ll stop boring you with all these statistics. What do they mean? These statistics tell us that LeBron James hasn’t been this great of a player in at least four years. This means not only is LeBron James still one of the best players in the NBA, but is performing at the age of 37. For context, Michael Jordan retired for the first time at the age of 30, then 35, and then finally ended his career at the age of 38. Jordan had only played 15 seasons at the time because of retirement breaks and his time in baseball, but even with the breaks, his final season was equivalent to LeBron’s first year as an 18-year-old.

Now that we have established James as an extremely successful athlete at his age, and potentially the greatest of all time, we can look at how he does this. Bill Simmons, a popular sports analyst, stated on his podcast that James spends $2 million on his body, such as equipment and a home gym, trainers that follow him everywhere he goes, chefs, masseuses, and even studies his sleep. All these resources are going into helping James’ body absorb the punishment and pressure it takes on a weekly basis.

The secret for LeBron James is care.  James sustains his body with arguably more TLC than any athlete in the NBA. He is careful with everything that goes into his body and everything that happens to it. 

Ultimately, LeBron is a world-class athlete who is truly in a class of his own. Does anybody know when LeBron James will retire? No, but it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.