What makes LeBron unique and different from many other great players is his longevity, consistency, year to year improvement, and the fact that he is getting better with every year he is getting older. That is exactly why Gilbert Arenas and Dwyane Wade discussed if LeBron James, now at 36 years old, is the best he has ever been.
There is no doubt, LeBron isn’t the highflyer he used to be. Don’t get me wrong, he is still able to posterize anybody in the league, but father time is undefeated, so his explosiveness and quickness are slowly fading. But that is not a problem for LeBron, as he has made up for his lost physical attributes with a better understanding of the game, knowing how to slow down and make smart and wise plays. Gilbert Arenas explained it like this:
“Because he is getting slower and the athleticism is going down just a little bit, he has to think more; he has to play the game smarter and wiser. That something most people had to do at like 31,30? He is doing it now. So instead of using his brute strength, he has to be wiser now. This is just his best basketball overall.”Gilbert Arenas, No Chill
At the beginning of his career, LeBron’s biggest question mark was his jump shot and will he ever be a threat from the outside. As time went on, you could see a slow and steady improvement that has led to him shooting a career-high 41.3% from the three-point line this season. That shows he has managed to become virtually good at everything on the basketball court at 36. His former teammate and friend Dwyane Wade spoke on his all-around game.
“So now I watch his game, and I say does he have a weakness in his game? And I start from the rim all the way back to halfcourt; he can do everything. Let’s take it even back from the rebound. Right? He does everything. So now he is good at everything. He is shooting high 40’s in three-pointers now; his range is out to the logo, he can midrange, he can post you up, he can face you up, he’s still gonna dunk you, his ability to see the floor now is so much better now because he’s seen every coverage…I’m looking at this guy. I’ve never seen nobody get better at 36 years old. Like this doesn’t happen. And I feel like a fan that this is the best LeBron that I’ve seen.”Gilbert Arenas, No Chill
Arenas and Wade gave some great points on why they think LeBron is the best he has ever been. Obviously, he has a god-given gift of being basically indestructible, which has allowed him to play at such a level for a long time. But without him investing so much in his body and a strict training regime, that wouldn’t be possible. That is why his body will enable LeBron to play at a high-level until he decides to retire.
A lot of players got smarter as they got more experienced, but none managed to keep their athleticism at such a high level while gathering all that experience and knowledge. At the start of his career, you could often see LeBron was nervous because of the pressure on his shoulders. But as time went by and championships got won, LeBron just got comfortable trying anything on the court and unleashed his full potential, playing the way he wants to and not the way the media wants him to.
That’s precisely why his run isn’t over. James has the opportunity to grab a few more of those rings and further cement his legacy and case for being the GOAT. As Rick Barry told us, if LeBron got a jump shot, “they would have to outlaw him.” We may be there.